Roads in Britain could be given ‘star ratings’ for safety in attempt to tackle accident black spots, roads Minister Robert Goodwill announces.
Britain’s roads could be given official “star ratings” for safety to help drivers avoid the most dangerous routes and put the spotlight on local authorities with the worst records.
Ministers have told the Highways Agency and councils to “consider the merits” of adopting a five-star rating system similar to the EuroRAP programme, which grades the safety of major roads across Europe.
Robert Goodwill, the roads minister, said he was “keen” to pursue the plans and emphasised the “positive impact” star systems for vehicles and roads have had on the safety of drivers around the world.
In future the data could even be incorporated into online journey planners to help motorists avoid the most dangerous stretches of road, a spokesman added. EuroRAP uses official accident data to analyse the relative levels of risk on all motorways and A-roads in the UK and Europe, rating them with a colour coding scheme similar to a five star system. It also helps to identify solutions which could improve local safety records.
Another index known as iRAP uses a star system to monitor road safety in the developing world, while equivalent programmes are being used to measure the relative safety of different vehicles around the globe.
Although no decision has been taken on whether to officially adopt a star system for roads in the UK, Mr Goodwill said he had asked officials to pay particularly close attention to EuroRAP and iRAP.
He said at the launch of the EuroRAP results for 2014 on Monday.
“I recognise the positive impact star rating systems have had on the safety of vehicles and roads around the world.I am therefore keen to work with the Highways Agency and local authorities to consider the merits of adopting a similar star rating for UK roads.
“All of these research findings should provide vital evidence for shaping future road safety policy.”
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, which a decade ago helped develop the star rating system which resulted in the EuroRAP programme, said publicising road safety information would “instil some knowledge of the types of roads where you are likely to see more hazards”.
“It is about awareness of where the real accidents are happening and where the chances of you being killed and injured are genuinely a bit greater,” he said. “I would have thought it is the type of thing they wouldn’t have wanted to reveal a decade or two ago.
“Introducing star ratings can only improve standards like it does in hotels and car safety as long as the measuring system is above board.”
He added that it could be possible to adjust the AA’s route planner to divert drivers around the most hazardous sections of road, but it would be a challenge to do so without putting them at greater risk by lengthening the route.