Campaign for Safe Road Design

Highlighting quick, simple and affordable ways to save lives

a fire engine attending a road accident

Britain's road safety performance

Britain is slipping quickly down the European road safety league. Britain was the leader in 2001 but has since fallen behind the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. EC figures show the majority of EU member countries improving faster. Road casualties waste 1.5% of the entire British GDP.

Recent British policy has not shared the goal of top performing countries. They are building a 'safe road system' aimed to be at least as safe as rail or air. The challenge of 'vision zero' – no road deaths at all – is used to help bring forward innovation in:

  • safe driving
  • safe vehicles, and
  • safe roads

Britain can make huge social and economic wins as the government starts its 10-yearly road safety review. In the last decade alone 375,000 Britons have been killed or seriously injured on the roads. International research recommends that Britain pays special attention to the application of safe road design, particularly outside urban areas where most Britons die.

The campaign

The Campaign for Safe Road Design aims to tackle the low awareness among the British public and policymakers as to how quick, simple and affordable it is to save life by treating the roadside hazards that can kill and maim.

According to the campaign consortium, a third of Britain's serious injuries or fatalities on the roads are preventable over the next ten years with just a modest investment – primarily in signs, lines, kerbing and barriers.

Few other investments in the economy deliver a higher economic or social return – not least by reducing the burden of emergency treatment and long term care of people disabled in crashes.

Edmund King, President of The AA says "The Campaign for Safe Roads has strong public backing. A poll of over 17,000 AA members1 shows almost three quarters of drivers believe that roads would be safer if money was spent improving accident black spots rather than on more traffic police or more speed cameras."

Safe road design accepts that drivers will make mistakes and tries to protect them, and others from the consequences of these mistakes.

It also believes that the road should protect its users from irresponsible or foolish road users. As a simple example hundreds of people are killed every year colliding with trees – yet better road design, in this case an energy absorbing barrier round the tree, could easily prevent the deaths.

For more information about the campaign backed by the AA , visit

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20 June 2008

1AA Populus Panel of 17500 members, April 2008