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Crash Barriers

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has been carried out by his Department to establish whether the erection of crash barriers on the edges of central reservations can increase the dangers of collisions between motor vehicles.

In researching, testing and developing the various designs of safety fences currently deployed, particular attention was given to ensuring that errant vehicles are redirected in such a manner as to minimise any hazard to other vehicles.Three research studies in the past 20 years by the Department's transport and road research laboratory have confirmed that, where such fencing is provided, the general reduction in the number and severity of casualties, particularly in crossover accidents, is substantial. A copy of the most recent report, entitled "Safety Fence Criteria for All-Purpose Dual Carriageway Roads", is in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of accidents on trunk roads where the central reservation is equipped with a crash barrier on the edge of such reservation can be ascribed to vehicles rebounding off such barriers into other vehicles.

The information is not available in the precise form requested. The presence or absence of a central reserve safety fence at the site of an injury accident is not collected routinely but is specifically reported when a vehicle hits the fence.The Secretary of State for Transport is highway authority for trunk roads in England and Wales. On these roads in 1988, there were 1,072 injury accidents in which a vehicle was reported to have collided with the central reserve safety fence. In 302 of these accidents the vehicle was further reported to have rebounded into the carriageway. In 155 of these 302, at least one other vehicle was involved in the accident but it is not possible to determine if any collision between vehicles took place before or after the collision with the central fence. The 155 accidents represent slightly more than half of 1 per cent. of injury accidents on trunk roads in England and Wales in 1988, and roughly 15 per cent. of accidents in which at least one vehicle hit a central reserve safety fence.