A21 ‘highest risk road’ in England

10/7/14- The A21 between Hastings and Johns Cross SUS-141007-085056001
10/7/14- The A21 between Hastings and Johns Cross SUS-141007-085056001

The A21 between Hurst Green and Hastings is the highest risk road in the country, according to Highways England.

The Road Safety Foundation carried out an investigation into the country’s roads found fatal and serious accidents on the A21 had fallen from 44 from 2008 to 2011 to 39 from 2011 to 2013.

This put the road’s rating down from ‘black’ high risk to ‘red’ medium to high risk but the issues are now attributed to the route itself – things like junctions and bends.

Highways England have been doing major resurfacing and changes to the A21 including changing the speed limit in three areas.

The road only achieved a two-star rating in 2014 and to reach the minimum three-stars the report suggested roadside objects needed to be moved or removed so the distance to them is longer and the run off area needs to be widened.

Route-based safety improvements are proposed for the A21, including improved visibility of villages and to standardise the designs within each and improved driver behaviour and awareness of the road conditions.

The viability of average speed cameras is being explored and the speed limits currently in place are being revised.

Chairman of the foundation Lord Whitty said: “Much of the genuine progress in reducing casualties this last decade has come from safer vehicles.

“Our results suggest that advances in safe vehicle design may be working better on more predictable purpose-built motorways than on the more variable higher speed single carriageways.

“On many ‘A’ roads, the margin for human error is often small.

“The largest single cause of death is from running off the road where there is often poor roadside protection, while junctions remain the largest source of serious injury where vehicle side impact protection is at its most limited.

“Although we can expect improvements in vehicle collision detection systems at junctions, road infrastructure and new vehicle systems need to be developed hand in hand.”

The report also found that crashes on England’s roads between 2011 and 2013 cost the organisation £2.1billion.

Author of the report Caroline Moore said: “We know that, across the British EuroRAP network of motorways and A roads outside the urban core, single carriageway A roads are eight times the risk of motorways.

“Risk on Highways England single carriageway A roads is six times higher than motorways, and just 3% of travel is on these roads.

“However the cost of fatal and serious injury crashes on single A roads on the HE network is £19 per thousand vehicle km travelled, against just £3 per thousand vehicle km travelled on its motorways.

“This gives a clear understanding of where Highways England can focus its efforts to make its whole network safer overall, and address its £2.1bn crash costs.”

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