Skip to main content

A1 (Safety)

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on safety on the A1.

Overall, the A1 continues to have an accident rate below the national average. The recently revised national road programme contains 10 major schemes designed to improve the safety of the road still further. These are in addition to five major schemes completed since 1979 and a continuing programme of smaller, but nonetheless important, local improvements.

My hon. Friend will recall telling me in earlier correspondence that the A1 has a good safety record. Since then, however, there have been a number of serious accidents, including the death of an entire family in a cross-over accident. Does she agree that the A1 is dangerous and that it lulls motorists into a false sense of security? It is not as safe as a motorway, with its long stretches without a central safety barrier or hard shoulder, with cross-over points and poor sight lines obscuring slow-moving traffic. Will she commit the Government to a full-scale programme of improving road safety on the A1, and particularly to extending safety barriers?

I am fully committed to improving road safety, not merely on the A1, but on all roads. This year I have instituted a review of all safety fencing, which may be of assistance to the A1. Furthermore, it does not matter on what road one drives, or what the road conditions are, because much of road safety is in the hands of drivers. Nothing that the House may try to persuade me to do or that the Government do will change the fact that at present 65 per cent. of accidents are caused by driver error only.

Would not safety on the A1 be substantially improved if there were a switch to rail? However, before that development takes place, and in the light of anxiety throughout the country about the standards of British Rail, may we have a full inquiry——