Monday, 10 November 2014

Why are 11 times more people killed on rural roads than in towns and cities? . . .


Why are 11 times more people killed on rural roads than in towns and cities?

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More than half of the deaths on the West’s roads happen on country lanes and rural B-roads, new research has shown, and now the Government is launching a new road safety campaign aimed specifically at rural drivers.

The number of people killed in country lanes every year has risen to a staggering 11 times more than motorways and dual carriageways.

While fatalities on urban roads, A-roads and motorways has declined, the number of people suffering serious injury or death on country lanes has risen over the past ten years.

For the first time, the percentage of fatalities on country roads has gone past 60 per cent, with hundreds being killed or injured every year on West Country roads.

The research from the Think! Campaign group, backed by the Department for Transport, revealed that more than a quarter of drivers reported having a near-miss on a country road, while 40 per cent have been surprised by an unexpected hazard, such as an animal.

Safety experts said rural road users are taking fast-road urban or motorway driving styles onto the country lanes, and that is unsafe.

“These findings suggest many drivers are failing to anticipate dangers on the road ahead,” a DfT spokesman said. “The research mirrors newly published casualty statistics which show that the most commonly reported contributory factor to being killed or seriously injured on country roads is motorists losing control, often because they are driving too fast for the conditions.”

The latest figures reveal that some 52 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads in Bath & North East Somerset in the past 12 months, that figure rising to 240 in Wiltshire and Swindon. In Somerset, some 218 people were killed or seriously injured, including 28 fatalities, while in Gloucestershire, 32 people died in the last year and 181 more were seriously injured. In Dorset, 222 people were killed or seriously injured.

Those figures compare with much lower statistics for cities. In Bristol, just a dozen people were killed and 94 were seriously injured on the roads over the same period, while in urban Bournemouth only two people were killed last year.

The new Think! campaign urges drivers to drive differently on country roads, with tips specifically designed for rural driving.

“Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world, but most people don’t know that motorists are nearly 11 times more likely to die in an accident on a country road than on a motorway,” road safety minister Robert Goodwill said. “On average three people die each day on country roads and these are needless tragedies.

“I want the public to understand these risks and adapt their driving to the conditions they face. That is why the new THINK! country road campaign is so important – we are urging drivers to read the road ahead, select a safe speed and brake before the bend,” he added.

Rally driver champion James Cole is also backing the campaign. He said too many people drive like rally drivers on country roads, when they cannot possibly know what is coming towards them around the corner.

“As a young racing driver, I learnt a number of key skills, such as looking ahead and judging the road conditions. These skills are equally important for everyday driving in Britain.

“Being a responsible driver, I try to anticipate hidden hazards and brake before the bend, and this is critical on country roads - you just don’t know what’s around the next corner.

“The new THINK! advertising campaign uses 3D scanning technology to illustrate that country roads are full of unforeseen hazards. This innovative visual technique allows viewers to ‘see’ through the bends on a country road and spot the unexpected dangers ahead.

“The message for drivers is that, in the real world, you can’t see the perils that may lie behind a bend so it’s always best to slow down and give yourself time to react,” he added.


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