Five people die every day on the road in Britain, with many others seriously injured. This is despite ongoing efforts to improve road safety by educating people, enforcing the law and applying new technology.

Here we look at some of the technologies and schemes being considered or tested to improve road safety across the UK.

Optical illusion

A 3D zebra crossing that encourages drivers to slow down as they approach it has been installed on a road in St John’s Wood, in north-west London. When drivers arrive at the crossing, the zebra’s 3D stripes create a floating effect.

Westminster City Council is trialling the crossing for 12 months after similar schemes in New Delhi, India, have reportedly led to decreases in average speeds of as much as 40% - from 50kph (31mph) to 30kph (19mph).


Over the past year, officers from 29 police forces have been patrolling motorways and major A roads across England inside three HGV ‘supercabs’.

These cars allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles. Drivers can then be pulled over by police cars that have been following behind.

Highways England, which has funded the supercabs, has released video footage of a lorry driver using a mobile phone to make a credit card payment while he travelled along the M40 near Leamington Spa.

School car-free zones

In Glasgow, plans have been revealed for seven primary schools to trial temporary car-free zones for 18 months to improve road safety.

These areas would be reserved for pedestrians for limited periods in the morning and in the afternoon, to help ensure student safety.

The plans followed complaints about dangerous driving and obstructive parking near schools, as well as environmental concerns.

Crackdown on mobile use at the wheel

One of the most common and dangerous distractions for drivers is their mobile phone.

Clever new signs are being trialled on some Norfolk roads to tackle mobile phone usage while driving.

These signs detect drivers that are using a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel and then flash a warning signal at them as they pass.

Elsewhere in the country, Hampshire and Thames Valley Police officers are riding on buses, using the extra height as a vantage point to spot drivers using their mobile phones.

Long range speed cameras

Gloucestershire Constabulary trialled a camera which can catch drivers who speed, tailgate, use handheld mobile phones or don’t wear seatbelts, from up to 1km away.

Screens, not signs

Technology being tested by Highways England will beam information, such as speed limits and warnings of approaching roadworks, onto screens inside cars.

The technology is intended to increase safety, as well as potentially doing away with some signage.

Speed limiters

In perhaps the most radical development of all, speed limiters using Intelligent Speed Assistance technology are set to become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe, including the UK, from 2022.

Intelligent Speed Assistance systems use GPS, maps data and video cameras to alert drivers to changes in the speed limit and reduce their speed accordingly. Unlike speed limiters that are fitted to some lorries, drivers will be able to override the system by pressing more firmly on the accelerator.

To read more about road safety go to Solved