Replacing missing security fencing on British roads could help save more lives on British roads, the Road Safety Foundation has said.

Missing safety fencing is one of several improvements the safety group says could save 6,000 lives over the next ten years if just a fraction of the money currently spent on road maintenance was provided for infrastructure measures.

According to the foundation's Saving Lives, Saving Money: the costs and benefits of achieving safe roads report, produced for the RAC Foundation, Britain loses up to £30 billion (2.3 per cent of GDP) annually in the cost of road crashes, most of which falls on busy, targetable motorways and main roads.

The study says that the total cost of crashes is well estimated by the Department for Transport but it is the way these costs fall on families, business, carers, NHS, emergency services and the insurance industry that are poorly understood.

The cost of fatal and serious crashes on the Highways Agency's network amounts to £1.2 billion annually and serious crashes on English local authority 'A' roads is £2 billion.

It also examines how much it would cost to bring main roads with safety flaws, such as missing security fencing, up to safety levels, and the savings that would result.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "We will never prevent all road accidents but we can do a considerable amount to reduce their effects simply by improving the road environment and making it as forgiving as possible.

"We understand road risks well enough to know how to cut this grim toll of death and injury, yet we fail to implement cheap and effective measures to combat them."

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