THE region’s most dangerous roads were unveiled last night as it emerged one motorist is killed or seriously hurt every day in the North East.
New figures released by the Road Safety Foundation sparked calls for improvements on the region’s networks as the true scale of the dangers posed were laid bare.
In the two years between 2006 and 2008, there were 746 crashes deemed to be “fatal and serious” in the North East, constituting more than one accident every day.
Among the worst roads in the region was the 6km stretch of single carriageway (A6076) between Sunniside and Stanley which saw six serious and fatal road crashes.
Meanwhile on single carriageways across the North East, there were 54 fatal or serious collisions for every billion vehicle kilometres travelled, compared with 19 crashes on dual carriageways.
And 1% of all the roads in the North East are deemed to pose a high-risk to motorists, the nationwide report revealed.
Last night Dr Joanne Hill, director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “As the road budget becomes tighter, emphasis must be on saving lives with less. It means systematic attention to detail, prioritising treatment of the highest risk routes most likely to benefit from low-cost, high-return countermeasures.
“This year’s report shows that not only can Britain reduce road deaths and serious injuries but that, by targeting a relatively small mileage of high-risk roads, we can do so with good economic returns.
“Too often we pay for emergency services, hospitals and care for the disabled rather than taking easy steps to put road design faults right.
“There are practical examples of how, with attention to detail, some authorities are slashing the toll of death and serious injury on high-risk stretches by as much as three-quarters.
“Simple, relatively inexpensive engineering measures, such as improvements to signing and lining, resurfacing and the layout of signals at junctions, are paying dividends and are affordable particularly when done as part of well planned routine maintenance.”
The North East’s most improved road was the A67, a 16km single-lane stretch of road that runs between Crathorne, in Cleveland, and Darlington, in County Durham.
The number of fatal and serious accidents dropped from 22 between 2003 and 2005, to just seven in the following two years. And the drop in the number of accidents was attributed to the installment of vehicle activated signs, improved signing and lining, drainage, improvements and road resurfacing.
AA president Edmund King said: “This report shows that road safety should be able to continue to improve during the current period of austerity.
“Dangerous stretches must be targeted – with both engineering and education-backed enforcement.
“This will be much more effective than any kind of blanket restriction on either urban or rural roads.
“Rural roads account for over half of all road deaths, with nearly two-thirds of these happening on rural A roads. The new figures show that half of these fatalities occur on one tenth of the road network, and that many lengths of rural road have seen drastic improvement in recent years at relatively little cost.
“This must continue.”