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Rural Roads are our most dangerous

12 February 2009

In the past 10 years more than 30,000 people have died on Britain’s roads. We all know someone killed or maimed in a brutal road crash. Road crashes bleed away 1.5% of GDP – more than we spend on primary schools, more than we spend on roads.

RoadSafe a founding partner in the Campaign for Safe Road Design is calling to make safe road design a national priority.

But drivers too have a duty to drive at safe speeds

  • Car drivers and passengers are three times more likely to die on a rural road than a busy street.
  • In 2006, more than 60 per cent of all deaths due to road accidents were in rural areas.
  • The people most at risk on rural roads are young men, predominantly aged between 17 and 39.

The latest £3.2m THINK! campaign to highlight the life-wrecking consequences of speeding for drivers as well as victims was launched earlier this month by the UK DFT

The campaign's stark message is that if you kill someone while speeding you will be tormented by it forever. In the new television advert a driver is haunted by images of the child he has killed - seeing his body in the bathroom mirror, through the window of a bus and when in the park with his son.

The new THINK! campaign - ''Kill your speed or live with it' includes TV, radio, cinema and online advertising.

Road safety professionals recognise that speed management is a very important tool for improving road safety. However, improving compliance with speed limits and reducing unsafe driving speeds are not easy tasks. Many drivers do not recognize the risks involved and often the perceived benefits of speeding outweigh the perceived problems that can result.

An excellent international manual consisting of a series of 'how to' modules is now available. It provides evidence of why speed management is important and takes the user through the steps needed to assess the situation in their own country. It then explains the steps needed to design, plan and implement a programme, including how to obtain funding, set up a working group, develop an action plan and, if necessary, introduce appropriate legislation. It considers the potential role of measures involving engineering and enforcement, as well as using education to change speed related behaviour. Finally, the manual guides the user on how to monitor and evaluate the programme so that the results can be fed back into programme design. For each of these activities, the document outlines in a practical way the various steps that need to be taken.