God knows how many seamen have made untimely rendezvous with Master Davey Jones when their ships got spoiled for a ha’pworth of tar.
Now a similar illeberality with the viscous brush is costing lives on a scale undreamt of by any penny-pinching pitch dispenser of yore.
The cause? Cash-strapped councils are standing scandalously idly by while road markings fade to grey on perilous highways up and down the land.
Road safety markings association the Road Safety Markings Association has found that many of the UK’s most dangerous roads have centre line markings so worn they’re barely visible. Half of such lines are below the minimum specified standard, while a third are hardly there at all.
Having checked out the UK’s 10 most dangerous roads the RSMA found that a 5-mile section of the A6135 between Ecclesfield and Junction 36 of the M1 at Hoyland is particularly shocking – requiring an immediate schedule of replacement. On other dangerous roads where improvements have been made, the RSMA reckons fatal accidents have been cut by up to 74%.
“The evidence is stark,” says Rsma’s George Lee, “eight out of ten of our most deadly roads have the most deadly markings… or in many cases, no markings at all.”
Recognising that improvements have been made on other roads, he warns nonetheless that “road safety engineering programmes have too often been viewed as discretionary and adoption can be hit and miss.” Lee wants assurances that driver lives will not be sacrificed on the altar of the government’s “localist” agenda.
“Road markings, he says, “provide the best, most simple navigation aid to drivers. This is not about government cut-backs, but about the saving lives and the core spending that needs to be undertaken by highway authorities, year in year out: put bluntly they need to live up to their responsibilities.”
Plus: it would obviously be nice if the RSMA’s members continue to enjoy a steady revenue stream through hard times to come.