Rural insurer NFU (National Farmers Union) Mutual has today (Tuesday, December 5) announced plans for a Code for Countryside Roads, as figures reveal deaths on rural roads to be 72% higher than urban roads.

The new code aims to combat rural road deaths, which have risen to a four-year high. There were 1,017 deaths on rural roads in 2022- up 14% on 2021.

NFU Mutual said 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 new rural road safety campaign, supported by THINK!, British Cycling, the British Horse Society and the four UK farming unions aims to raise awareness of the “unique hazards” to rural road users.

Announcing the plans for a Code for Countryside Roads, NFU Mutual chief executive, Nick Turner 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.”

Turner said collaboration from road users and organisations is needed to ensure the countryside is “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.”