The British road system is one of the safest in the world. The country can boast of a number statistics that back up this claim. For deaths caused by road traffic accidents, UK is ranked fourth in the world with 2.97 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The country is ranked fifth at 5.1 fatalities per 100,000 motor vehicles. These achievements in no way trivialises these tragic loss of lives; it merely highlights the high safety standards in UK.
Incredibly, 16 percent of all crashes in the UK occur in Greater London. This is likely due to the exceptionally higher levels of traffic. However, the highest rate of fatalities occurs in Scotland, with 178 or 10 percent of all fatalities. Greater London comes in second with 152 (8.54%), followed by West Midlands (4%) and Thames Valley (3.48%) at third and fourth respectively.
While road accidents (collisions and crashes) occur more frequently in urban centres, the rate of fatalities is actually higher in rural areas, claiming over fifty percent of all fatalities despite accounting for less than 20 percent of traffic. Analysts speculate that this is possibly caused by the delay in receiving medical help. Motorways, meanwhile, have the lowest share of fatalities, accounting for only 5 percent of the total.
UK's impressive record with road safety is due to a combination of factors. Foremost though, is the National Speed Limit - or rather, the relatively low limits. The World Health Organization (WHO) argues that a 5 percent change in average speed could swing the number of fatal crashes by 30%! This probably explains why the government is strongly opposed to increasing the National Speed Limit - even at selected locations.
As impressive as these numbers are, it can actually be improved upon quite easily - albeit at a tremendous cost. UK has shockingly poor roads. In a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, UK's roads are ranked 27th in the world, behind even developing countries like Malaysia, Ecuador and Oman. While the solution may appear obvious, the Local Government Association warned that it would take about 14 years to repair the roads in England alone!