Ministers considering road star safety ratings

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motorcycle helmet on a wet...
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Roads across Britain could be given official star ratings for safety, under new plans put forward by the government.

Ministers have consulted with the Highways Agency and local councils to "consider the merits" of a five-star safety rating system, The Telegraph reports.

A similar programme, called EuroRAP, is already in place, and grades the safety of major transport links throughout Europe. It is expected that any new system in the UK would be modeled on this.

Roads minister Robert Goodwill is said to be "keen" to see a new rating system implemented, citing improvements to road safety that other such schemes have had around the world.

Motoring organisations have welcomed the proposals, with the AA saying that an official star rating system would help motorists understand the risks of particular routes, and allow them to plan their journeys accordingly.

A secondary function of the system would be to name and shame local authorities with the worst safety statistics. The safety system could also potentially be incorporated into vehicle sat navs and online route planners, providing drivers with up-to-date safety information as and when they need it.

Currently, the most dangerous stretch of road in the UK – identified by EuroRAP using official accident data – is a 12-mile stretch of the A285, between Chichester and Petworth, West Sussex.

Another star rating system, called iRAP, is used to monitor road safety in the developing world. It is a system, along with EuroRAP, that Mr Goodwill will be hoping officials consider when evaluating his proposals.

"I recognise the positive impact star rating systems have had on the safety of vehicles and roads around the world," he said at the launch of the EuroRAP results for 2014 this week.

"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.

"Such a system could help simplify future road safety policy."

Would a star safety rating system affect how you plan your journeys? Have your say in the comments section below.