Friday, January 29, 2010

FTA Wants More Money For Roads And Reassessment Of Truck Speeds

New Report Stokes Demands
Shipping News Feature

UK – The British Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called for greater investment in the UK's road infrastructure along with a more intelligent approach to speed limits to bring greater safety benefits to all road users. The comments come in response to concern arising from the Road Safety Foundation’s (RSF) report into the safety of England’s trunk roads.

Using a Europe-wide scale the RSF report has found that two-thirds of single carriageway trunk roads, where head-on collisions are prevented only by road markings, were worthy of just two stars.

Dr Joanne Hill, Director of the Road Safety Foundation, said that: "Our assessment of trunk roads considers three key elements: the protection provided if vehicles run off the road; the risk of head-on collisions; and the safety of junctions.

"A quarter of all British rural road deaths involve hitting roadside objects. It is common to see unprotected steep embankments, poles or trees that have grown far too close to the road. A quarter die at junctions and there are simply too many junctions that do not provide protection to turning vehicles. Around 20 per cent of road deaths occur in head-on crashes and we must study other countries which are increasing protection on higher speed roads."

Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Traffic Management Policy at the FTA, said: “This report echoes FTA’s calls for greater investment in infrastructure and highlights the need for consistent funding of our trunk road network. We can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to road safety and the Government must see that a continual investment in our roads will save lives not to mention the millions of pounds that are lost every year due to road collisions.

“However, it is not just a case of throwing money at the highways authorities. One way to make an immediate and lasting improvement to road safety would be to equalize the speed limit between cars and commercial vehicles on these dangerous, single carriageway roads where reckless overtaking is a proven killer.”

The FTA, which has been calling on politicians to make infrastructure investment a priority in post-election Britain, added said in a statement that “Investment in the UK’s transport infrastructure will improve not only the safety of all road users, but deliver greater business efficiency and bring environmental benefits too.”

The organisation is also calling for a review of the speed limit for commercial vehicles on single carriageways, which is currently 40mph.

The FTA believes that increasing this would actually make travel on such roads safer by reducing the number of car drivers making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres through impatience from being stuck behind slow trucks and shortening the overall journey time for professional drivers, thus helping with fatigue issues.