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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
Campaign to cut rural road deaths
Car users are three times more likely to die on a country road than an urban one, according to new figures.

Straight runs, less traffic and fewer pedestrians can make drivers think it is safe to speed, the government says.

Last year 1,256 people died on rural UK roads, with 325 deaths caused by driving too fast for the conditions.

The statistics show the South East had most rural road fatalities, with 188 deaths, followed by eastern England (165) and the East Midlands (158).

Rural road deaths 2006
North East 44
North West 97
Yorks/Humber 116
East Midlands 158
West Midlands 112
East 165
South East 188
London 8
South West 134

Launching a safety campaign targeting rural drivers, the Department for Transport said there was often only one car involved in rural accidents.

This made it likely that drivers had been tempted to push themselves or their car beyond their limits, the DfT said.

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: "Driving on rural roads can be deceiving.

"It is important that motorists drive with as much care on a rural road as they would in a more built-up area.

"The 'national' 60mph speed limit is a maximum, not an expectation, and drivers must match their speed to the road characteristics and weather conditions they are experiencing."

One-fifth of the country's rural roads are in the south west. Cornwall's Road Safety Unit warned: "Conditions and characteristics can be unpredictable."

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