The 11km section of the M6 between junctions 33 and 34 has been named the most improved road on England’s Strategic Road Network, with the A21 between Hurst Green and Hastings the most dangerous, in an annual report by the Road Safety Foundation.
The report, ‘How much do road crashes cost where you live?’, states that the number of fatal and serious crashes on the stretch of the M6 has reduced by 77%, improving the road from a low-medium risk to a low risk.
The casualty reduction is attributed to a major resurfacing scheme and upgrading of the central barrier from metal to concrete.
On the other hand, the 23km single-carriageway route between Hurst Green and Hastings remains the country’s most dangerous strategic route, with bends and junctions in rural areas seeing a high concentration of collisions.
However, the number of fatal and serious crashes has dropped from 44 (2008-10) to 39 (2011-2013) moving the road from a ‘black’ high risk rating to a ‘red’ medium to high risk.
The report attributes the reduction to several schemes to improve blackspots including improving the visibility of villages, the use of average speed cameras and speed limit revisions – with further improvements planned.
Analysing nearly 45,000kms of road, the 2015 report also for the first time includes a map of risk for the Strategic Road Network in Britain.
Lord Whitty, chairman of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “On many ‘A’ roads, the margin for human error is often small. The largest single cause of death is from running off the road where there is often poor roadside protection, while junctions remain the largest source of serious injury where vehicle side impact protection is at its most limited.
“Although we can expect improvements in vehicle collision detection systems at junctions, road infrastructure and new vehicle systems need to be developed hand in hand.”
The report also reveals that the total cost of crashes on Highways England’s network was £2.1 billion in the period between 2011-13.
Caroline Moore, the report’s author, said: “We know that, across the British EuroRAP network of motorways and A roads outside the urban core, single carriageway A roads are eight times the risk of motorways.
“However the cost of fatal and serious injury crashes on single A roads on the Highways England network is £19 per thousand vehicle km travelled, against just £3 per thousand vehicle km travelled on its motorways. This gives a clear understanding of where Highways England can focus its efforts to make its whole network safer overall, and address its £2.1bn crash costs.”
The report also analyses the complete network of British roads, revealing the top 10 most improved and the top 10 persistently higher risk roads.
The most improved is the A70 from Cumnock to Ayr in Scotland, which has seen a 94% reduction in the number of fatal and serious injuries, with the figures falling from 16 (2008-10) to 1 (2011-13).
The most dangerous road is the A18 from Laceby in North East Lincolnshire to Ludborough, near Grimsby.
The 16km stretch is rural and tree-lined, winding and narrow and the report suggests these characteristics explain the concentration of run-off crashes on the route (41%). Fatal and serious crashes have increased from 10 to 17 over the two reported periods.