On Tuesday 30 October I attended the launch of the 2018 results of the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) for Britain. The study has been running for six years and assesses the risks of each of Britain’s major roads by measuring KSI (Killed and Seriously Injured) statistics across definable stretches of the road network.
The launch of the report was held in the House of Lords, but I made the schoolboy error of entering the Palace of Westminster by the Commons entrance and so I was then escorted across to the Lords, noticing the market change in colour scheme towards crimson and gold. Along the way I bumped into Andrew Marr filming for a forthcoming BBC documentary series.
Once in the Cholmondeley Room, I caught up with road safety colleagues including David Davies of PACTS and Steve Gooding of the RAC Foundation, before chatting with ex-colleague Andy Watson who heads-up Ageas who sponsor the report.
Then on with the presentations hosted by Lord Whitty of Camberwell. So what were the key findings of this year’s report?
Whilst Highways England have a target of zero deaths by 2040, and major industrial nations have a shared goal of no deaths on roads by 2050, progress here has stalled since 2010 – hence the name of this year’s report: “Getting Back on Track”.
If Britain is to get back on course for zero, it must halve road deaths every decade – this will require a combination of better road infrastructure, safer vehicles and, crucially, better drivers and riders.
The reports looks at the risks of individual roads across the country – the risk of death or serious injury is highest in the South East (26 per billion vehicle kilometres) and lowest in the West Midlands (17).
Motorways are the safest of our major roads, with single carriageway A roads carrying eight times more risk.
Which was Britain’s riskiest road, you ask? The A254 between Margate and Ramsgate. And the most improved? Well following a new road layout, the A161 in Humberside wins that accolade.
A couple of sobering stats to finish – about a quarter of accidents on higher risk roads involved motorcyclists, and about half involved pedestrians or cyclists.
The key success of the EuroRAP project has been the link to the Safer Roads Fund targeting the worst roads where the biggest improvements can be delivered. Some councils simply don’t have enough time to apply for funding so it is vital that the fund is protected long term. Investment in high risk roads means that authorities are doing as much as they can to give us safe roads as their part of the Safe System approach. It is still up to drivers to use them responsibly and IAM RoadSmart will always on hand to help them do that.By Mike Quinton, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer