Deadly toll of road design

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AT LEAST 300 people are killed each year because of commondesign errors on Britain's roads, the Automobile Association says today.

The group policy director, John Dawson, says: "Common design mistakes are repeated up and down the country. Many are easily avoidable and [changes could] ... prevent motorists, cyclists and motorcyclists being killed and injured." Among the most common mistakes are:

nFailure to discourage high speeds at roundabouts;

nConfusing arrays of traffic lights at junctions;

nEncouraging motorists to drive at greater speeds on some roads than they were designed for;

nPoorly sited crossings for pedestrians;

nLampposts on the wrong side of a crash barrier;

nRoad signs hidden by branches or grass, and

nBadly designed tactile (bumpy) paving for the visually impaired at crossings.

The Highways Agency said Britain's roads were the safest in the EU, with stringent design guidelines. A spokesman forlocal highway authorities said: "No matter how well you design roads you can't ensure the drivers will drive safely."