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Designing out Risks in Road Safety

Reviewing UK Legislation and Road Safety Features 

Road safety is a serious business; currently, in the UK alone a third of all annual road traffic accidents account for 1000 fatalities. Imagine that? One-thousand lives lost in preventable accidents, while including injury of all severities the Department for Transport reported a staggering 194,477 casualties in 2014.

It goes without saying that we can always do better. The purpose of this blog is to review the recent design features that have been implemented to improve road safety and identify a couple that may have increased the danger.


Recent design features

The following recent design safety features have been included into the current traffic management system to improve road safety.

  • Speed restriction signage for vehicles down to 20 MPH zones in town centre road locations.
  • Speed restriction bumps to slow vehicles down in town centre road locations.
  • Speed cameras situated at prominent locations along motorways and dual carriage ways.
  • The mandatory requirement to ensure seatbelts are worn at all times by all passengers when travelling in vehicles.
  • The introduction of airbags for passenger vehicle collision protection.
  • New motorists having to complete a competency driving and Highway Code theory test for driving vehicles on public roads.
  • The introduction of a traffic management system i.e. signals and signage, one way routes and diversions.
  • The introduction of vehicle driving licensing laws for the different vehicle categories such as private light goods, LGV and motorcyclists.
  • The prohibition of alcohol and use of mobile phones whilst driving.

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Road safety design features with the potential to increase danger

Road speed reduction speed bumps

  • The introduction of road speed bumps has increased the risk to young motorcycle users due to their perception of risk and being unaware of the danger associated with speeding over these speed reduction bumps which could potentially cause road traffic accidents.

Driving age licensing laws

  • Allowing young person’s aged 17 years to be able to drive private light goods vehicles and motorcycles under 49cc when they have passed their car driving tests. The issue being their perception of risk differing to a more mature driver in terms of obeying road traffic laws.

Legislation applicable

  • The Health & Safety at Work act 1974.
  • The Road Traffic Act 1991.

Guidance note

  • The UK Highway Code.


Whilst there are many road design features that will improve road safety in the UK there are also those that can cause more harm than good by increasing the risk.

The driver needs to pay close attention to any changes that may appear on the roads they use and ensure they follow all safety precautions put in place properly to ensure that their journey to and from work is a safe one.

Kai Young



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