The leading rural insurer today (Tuesday 5 December) announces plans for a Code for Countryside Roads as exclusive analysis of official figures shows that rural road deaths have rocketed to a four-year high, with 1017 people losing their lives on rural roads in 2022 – up 14% on the previous year.

The disparity between rural and urban road deaths has also risen, with rural road fatalities 72% higher than urban road fatalities (593).

In the South West, 113 people lost their lives on rural roads in 2022, after 114 lost their lives in 2021. The number of rural road deaths was over 250% higher than urban road fatalities (37).

Tragically, in Britain, accidents on rural roads are around four times more likely to result in a fatality. In 2022, an average of one in every 31 accidents (1017 of 31395) on rural highways resulted in a death, compared to one in every 120 (593 of 71151) on urban roads.

The report can be viewed here.

With rural road deaths once again increasing to a four-year high, NFU Mutual is today announcing plans to create a Code for Countryside Roads to bring together expert knowledge and advice to make rural roads safer for everyone.

Nick Turner, Chief Executive of NFU Mutual, said:

“Rural roads are not only the arteries of the rural economy, but also the gateway to our countryside and a source of enjoyment for millions.

 “Sadly, our analysis shows that, after a few years of decreasing fatalities, rural roads are becoming more deadly again. Over 1,000 people lost their lives on rural roads last year, with thousands more injured.

“Every road death is one too many, and we believe serious conversations need to happen to make rural roads safer for everyone. 

“That is why we are today announcing a Code for Countryside Roads, which will take in feedback and advice from experts and groups to provide a clear guide to how people should use rural roads. 

“We all need to work together to ensure we keep our countryside as safe as it can be.= 

“We invite members of the public and experts to get in touch with us to feed into the Code for Countryside Roads and hope the document, once published, will help steer a course towards safer rural roads for all road users.”