The UK’s leading transport trade body, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), has called for greater investment in road infrastructure, along with a more intelligent approach to speed limits to bring greater safety benefits to all road users. The comments come in response to concerns arising from the Road Safety Foundation’s (RSF) report into the safety of England’s trunk roads. Using a Europe-wide scale, the RSF found that two-thirds of single-carriageway trunk roads, where head-on collisions are prevented only by road markings, were worthy of just two stars. The European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) Road Protection Score is a scale for rating roads on how well the design protects users from death or disabling injury when a crash occurs.
FTA has been calling on politicians to make infrastructure investment a priority so that it can improve not only the safety of all road users, but deliver greater business efficiency and bring environmental benefits too. The FTA also believes that the possible benefits of increasing the speed limit for commercial vehicles on single-carriageway, derestricted roads could be a reduction in car drivers making dangerous overtaking maneuvers through impatience, a reduction in stress for truck drivers who are aware they are causing inconvenience for other road users as well as shorter overall journey times meaning drivers spending less time behind the wheel unnecessarily. Improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions can also be added to the list.
“This report echoes the FTA’s calls for greater investment in infrastructure and highlights the need for consistent funding of our trunk road network,” says Malcolm Bingham, head of road traffic management policy for the FTA. “We can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to road safety and the Government must see that a continual investment in our roads will save lives, not to mention the millions of pounds that are lost every year due to road collisions. However, it is not just a case of throwing money at the highways authorities. One way to make an immediate and lasting improvement to road safety would be to equalize the speed limit between cars and commercial vehicles on these dangerous, single-carriageway roads, where reckless overtaking is a proven killer.”
2 February 2010
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