Study: Road deaths could be avoided
As many as 6,000 lives could be saved on Britain's roads over the next 10 years if just a fraction of the money being spent on road maintenance was used more effectively, a report has said.
Britain loses up to £30 billion annually in the cost of road crashes, most of which happen on motorways and main roads, according to the report for the RAC Foundation by the Road Safety Foundation.
The report showed how, within existing budgets, roads rated only 1-star and 2-star in terms of safety could be improved in the next decade, with benefits worth £25-£35 billion.
Achieving the savings would need road authority leaders being offered guidance to focus on the full costs and benefits of saving the most lives for the money available.
The report said the total cost of crashes was well estimated by the Department for Transport but the way costs fell on families, business, carers, NHS, emergency services and the insurance industry was poorly understood.
It said the cost of fatal and serious crashes on the Highways Agency's network of England motorways and major A roads amounted to £1.2 billion annually. The cost of serious crashes on English local authority A roads was £2 billion.
The report proposed a 10-year safety programme, costing less than 10% of existing road budgets, to bring main roads with safety flaws up to scratch.
Road Safety minister Mike Penning said: "Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world and road improvement projects have undoubtedly contributed to this. We know that simple measures - such as good road markings and clear signing - can make a massive difference and I urge local authorities to consider these carefully as they continue to strive to reduce deaths and injuries on their roads.
"But one death is still too many, which is why we are currently working on a new road safety strategy, looking at the most effective way to drive further reductions in road deaths and casualties."