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British roads lose poll position in European safety league

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BRITAIN NO longer leads Europe in road safety according to a new report published this week.

The Road Safety Foundation's EuroRAP report claims British roads have fallen from first to fifth in the European road safety league.

The report says that the UK had Europe's safest roads in 2002, but has now fallen behind Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland after failing to invest in small scale schemes like improved road markings.

'The UK is now falling behind those countries it used to lead only a few years ago because its pace in applying the results of research into safe road design lags behind the best, ' said RSF chairman John Dawson.

The EuroRAP 2007: GB Tracking Survey, highlights the 23km section of the A682 between Junction 13 of the M65 and Long Preston in Lancashire as Britain's most dangerous road.

More than 100 people have been killed or seriously injured on this section in the last decade.

The road is criticised for being 'inconsistently maintained', having narrow footpaths on blind corners in its urban sections and poor road markings.

'The most common road accidents are vehicles running off the road and hitting obstructions such as trees; side impacts at junctions; head on crashes; pedestrians and cyclists being hit and motorcycle accidents, ' said Dawson.

'A lot of roads might score badly in one or two of those but the A682 scores badly on all ve.' Another 16 roads present a 'medium to high risk'.

The report also highlights an improved safety record on 17 roads. The A452 Sutton Coldfield to Brownhills leads the way with a 72% cut in fatal accidents and serious injuries.

'Many of Britain's authorities have brought in countermeasures to tackle the higher risk routes in their areas, ' said the report's author Dr Joanne Hill.

'Most are quick, simple and cheap, involving little more than adopting modern signing, hazard markings and junction layouts.'

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