On your marks…

Road Safety Markings Association is set to carry out the UK’s biggest survey of the state of white lines. From 16 July and throughout August, more than 6,000 miles of roads in England, Scotland and Wales – including the UK’s ten most dangerous roads identified by the Road Safety Foundation – will be assessed for the quality of their central white lines.

Road markings are measured on their retro-reflectivity. A rating of 150mcd (millicandelas) is the level recommended by the industry, with road marking materials available that ensure lines remain clearly visible even at night in wet conditions. Under a Highways Agency standard, if the quality of markings falls below 100mcd, they should be scheduled for replacement, and if the quality rates below 80mcd, they must be replaced immediately.

RSMA national director, George Lee says: “We have identified a series of routes which cover motorways and major A roads managed by the Highways Agency, Transport Scotland and the Welsh Assembly, as well as lesser A and B roads managed by local authorities.

“We recognise that the UK is currently under huge financial pressure, but road markings are widely recognised to provide the best, most simple and cost-effective navigation aid to drivers – and previous surveys have found white lines reduced to the level of the faintest chalk mark.”

The latest figures on road casualties, issued by the Department for Transport, show that around 40 per cent of night-time collisions on motorways and rural roads occurred in the wet; and 34 per cent of collisions caused by permanent road sign/marking defects occurred at night – of which 35 per cent are where there is no street lighting.

“Currently, the Highways Agency and many local authorities are turning off motorway and street lighting – which makes high quality, well-maintained road markings absolutely imperative, if drivers are to be able to find their way on the darkest, wettest night.

“By conducting the survey this summer, we anticipate that roads in and around London will show significant improvement over previous years’ results, as the capital’s network has been spruced up for the Jubiliee and Olympics.”

The findings of the report will be published in the autumn.

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