Where have all the white lines gone?

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The quality of road markings on the UK’s roads is in rapid decline according to LifeLines, the largest ever survey of white lines carried out by the Road Safety Markings Association.

As the percentage of motorway markings classified as needing immediate replacement by the Highways Agency’s own standard doubled from eight to 17 per cent in the past two years, the industry believes the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency are failing to grasp the urgency of the problem.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of the markings on single carriageways managed by the HA fall into the danger or warning zones.

On England’s local authority-maintained single carriageways 22 per cent of markings are in a critical condition and a further 20 per cent need replacing. On average, 25 per cent of markings on dual carriageways are in the danger or warning zone.

The latest Road Safety Foundation report showed that road markings featured in nine of the top 10 improved roads where fatal and serious collisions dropped.

High-quality white lines have proved to be a simple, low-cost solution to improving the way a road user can “read” the road, preventing road-side run-offs or providing safe right-turn pockets.

George Lee, national director of the Road Safety Markings Association, said: “This latest survey shows that in spite of the Highways Agency having a standard by which its markings are measured and maintained, there is clear evidence of significant decline.

“Standards are being inconsistently implemented, and it would appear that there is little or no monitoring.

“Markings in the danger rating on motorways have doubled from eight per cent in 2010 to 17 per cent to 2012; while the percentage of markings given the highest rating have dropped from 38 per cent in 2010 to just 29 per cent this year.

“Our report shows that national standards are not being enforced and that the quality of road markings is declining at an alarming rate. We strongly suspect that the layers of bureaucracy built into the system of maintaining HA roads is stifling results. Taxpayers are paying, but the funds are simply not going on the roads.”