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Motorways: criticised but safest for van drivers

Two-thirds of trunk roads rated only two star

VAN DRIVERS might be alarmed to find that only 50% of Britain’s motorway network reaches a top four-star rating, acccording to a report by the Road Safety Foundation.

The safety organisation criticised the safety of run off areas of motorways.

The organisation awards four stars as the highest rating in the scale and motorways without deficiencies achieved this – some 50%. However, 78% of dual carriageways rate 3-stars but some two thirds of single carriageway trunk roads achieve only a 2-star rating – suggesting that Business Van Managers should warn drivers to avoid these where possible.

“Our assessment of trunk roads considers three key elements: the protection provided if vehicles run off the road; the risk of head-on collisions; and the safety of junctions,” explained Dr Joanne Hill, director of the Road Safety Foundation.

“Motorways are our safest roads, scoring well on two of these factors but half do not protect road users who, for whatever reason, run off the road,” Dr Hill added.

Dr Hill said the same problem afflicted dual carriageways, although they scored well on head-on collision protection. But single carriageways are the least safe roads to travel on.

“Head-on collisions are prevented only by road markings. Where road sections have junctions, few layouts rate well,” said Dr Hill.

The Road Safety Foundation used the the Road Protection Score scale produced by the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP), a sister programme to EuroNCAP which measures the crashworthiness of cars.

EuroRAP says road crashes cost the British economy £18billion annually.

There were 2,538 killed on all Britain’s roads in 2008. Just over half of all road deaths occured on Britain’s motorways and rural A roads.

“A fortune is being spent on emergency services, hospitalisation and long term care of victims when we could make road travel as safe as rail or air,” John Dawson, chairman of EuroRAP commented.

“UK roads can be the safest in the world over the next decade if the same high return investment in safe road design is made as other leading nations.”