Following a report, from the Road Safety Marking Association (RSMA), points out that some two-thirds of all UK road deaths and serious injuries are on rural A-roads. Yet, it claims, of more than 60 single carriageway A-roads surveyed, totalling more than 1,600km, on average 14% of road markings are completely worn out. A further 15% fall into the ‘amber’ zone and should immediately be scheduled for replacement. Just 29% of lines reach the acceptable level of visibility, claims the RSMA. The quality of markings on major A-roads is in line with those on motorways. Of the 750km-plus of A-roads and motorways surveyed, one in five fell below the minimum specifiable standard and should be scheduled for replacement while 8% have centre line markings so worn that they are barely visible, claims the RSMA.
“Two years ago, just 2% of our major road network had markings that rated virtually non-existent. This figure has risen at an alarming rate, and now, nearly a tenth of the centre lines on our trade routes are dangerously worn,” says George Lee, national director of the RSMA. “The high risk of head-on collisions on single carriageways means centre line markings are critically important to guide road-users safely on these roads. “Road markings provide the best, most simple navigation aid to drivers, who must to be able to ‘read’ the road at every turn. Without this most modest of investments, motorists are driving blind when we can, in fact, save lives for the cost of a pot of paint.” Road markings are measured on their retroreflectivity. A rating of 150mcd (millicandelas) is the level recommended by the industry [in the UK], with road markings materials available that ensure markings remain clearly visible even at night in wet conditions, says the RSMA.
Under a UK Highways Agency standard, if the quality of markings falls below 100mcd, they should be scheduled for replacement. If the quality rates below 80mcd, they must be replaced immediately. Self Adhesive Reflective Road Lines from Promain offers the solution. Whether this picture is being repeated elsewhere remains to be seen, but despite the RSMA’s worrying statistics much is being done by road marking materials and associated manufacturers to make sure products are up to scratch when it comes to markings.
For example, a road once noted for its poor safety record has been re-categorised from a medium-high risk-rated road in 2004-2006 to a low-medium risk-rated road in 2007-2009, and rated the most improved UK road by EuroRAP (European Road Assessment Programme) in its current tenth annual report Simple Measures Save Lives.