A study identifying Britain’s most dangerous roads has found that 30% of primary roads are unsafe, while a quarter of motorways fall outside safest band.
An eight-mile stretch of the A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton was identified as the country’s most dangerous road in the report by EuroRAP – the European Road Assessment Programme.
The single-carriageway road has been the scene of 43 fatal or serious collisions since 2001, nearly three-quarters of them involving motorcyclists.
When collisions involving motorbikes are removed from the analysis, this stretch of the A537 moves from the highest risk road in the country to one of the safest.
The most dangerous road for car and van drivers is the A61 between Barnsley and Wakefield.
The six-mile undulating and twisting stretch of single-carriageway road running through countryside has poor forward visibility, with many of the fatal crashes occurring on bends and junctions.
This year’s persistently high risk roads are again concentrated in the north of England and the midlands.
“The fact that the Macclesfield to Buxton road tops the list of Britain’s most dangerous roads highlights the fundamental issue of road-user behaviour when it comes to safety,” said Dr Joanne Hill who heads the Road Safety Foundation, which carried out the research.
“However, poor road design and inadequate safety measures on the majority of the roads in the most dangerous list have contributed to a high proportion of the fatal or serious collisions each year.
“The majority of road authorities this year identified the need for significant funding for road safety improvements and maintenance of existing roads as the one thing which would make the biggest difference to reducing fatal or serious collisions on sections within their area.”
Although there has been an 18% overall drop in risk across the motorway and main road network in the past three years, the rating of motorways and the primary route network still causes major concern.
“Despite significant advances in knowledge, engineering practice and road-safety counter-measures, 30% of the primary A road sections do not achieve even the top two safest risk bands that we would expect as the minimum safety level for these strategic roads,” said Dr Hill.
“Also, 24% of motorway sections fall outside the safest risk band.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s most improved road is the A453 from the A38 to Tamworth in Staffordshire.
This rural single carriageway has seen an 88% drop in the number of fatal or serious collisions in the last six years.
This has been achieved by introducing traffic lights, speed limit reductions and village pedestrian facilities.