In Monday's newspaper, a case was made
to dual all of the A1 north of Morpeth to the Scottish border. This could reduce road accident levels
by cutting the number of dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, which
take place on the A1 in Northumberland.
But, there are nearly 3,000 deaths on British roads each year. Also, you are 100 times more likely to be killed on the roads than on the railways. If transport policy were loaded in favour of the railways and away from the roads, then this might reduce the overall number of transport fatalities. One way of doing this would be to increase the tax on petrol and re-invest the additional money on the railways. The re-opening of the train line between Alnwick and Alnmouth would be a priority. This would mean that you would not need to use a road to get between Alnwick and Newcastle.
A1 dualling would provide more convenience and faster journeys for motorists. But it is questionable whether it is the best way to achieve general transport safety aims, such as a reduction in deaths and injuries. If railway lines in Northumberland had remained open, then there may have been less traffic and fewer accidents on the A1.
Food safety policy could be seen as a trade of between productivity and safety. Transport safety policy in the U.K. could be seen as a trade-off between convenience and safety. British society since c1906 has, in general terms, chosen convenient transport over safe transport. The flexibility and convenience of the car has been prioritised over the safety offered by the railways. In terms of safety it would be better if transport policy was loaded in favour of railways to offer the British public safer travel. The aim of the letter was to make this point.