How safe are Cornwall’s roads?

5 Min Read

With so many people avoiding air travel and international holidays, the South West is likely to see a lot of holidaymakers this summer.

The RAC estimate that there could be as many as 10.5 million drivers using a car for an overnight trip to visit family, second homes, holiday homes, self-catering cottages or to camp.  That’s 31 per cent of drivers.  This comes as Devon and Cornwall police have issued a warning about the region’s road network amongst road safety concerns.  Despite less traffic on the roads during lockdown, accidents increased. This was mainly caused by speeding, as drivers took advantage of the much emptier road system.

Road accident figures for Cornwall

On average, five people die every day on the road in Great Britain and countless more are seriously injured.  Road deaths have remained broadly constant for several years.

In Cornwall in 2017 there were 22 fatal collisions where 26 people were fatally injured on roads. If we compare to a county with a similar mix of roads, Dorset had 22 deaths. There were 223 serious collisions, where 269 people were seriously injured, and in Dorset it was 199. In 2018, 21 people were killed in Cornwall to Dorset’s 16, and 282 seriously injured to Dorset’s 279.

55 of those injured were pedestrians, but a more worrying trend is the fact that Cornwall’s roads are becoming more dangerous for children, with a number of deaths and serious injuries at their highest level for nine years.

Figures from Public Health England and the Department for Transport show that 41 under sixteens were killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions in Cornwall in the three years from 2016 to 2018.

Accident blackspots in Cornwall

There are of course those roads which are notorious blackspots for accidents with the A3082 between Fowey and St Blazey, A3078 between the A390 between  Probus and St Mawes, the A3079 between Holsworthy and Okehampton and the A374 between Torpoint and the A38 at Trerulefoot being amongst the worst.

Local safety campaigns such as Safe38 have been created to fight for changes to the infrastructure, and to increase awareness of the dangers in those using the roads. Safe38 was set up after a series of serious and fatal accidents on the A38 between Saltash and Trerulefoot. This stretch of road has seen 14 fatal accidents since 2004.

Safe38 has launched a Facebook page and website in order to draw attention to the urgent need for safety improvements to the road and hope to make their opinion heard to the Department of Transport so that improvements to the A38 can be included in their review of the Strategic Road Network.


I’m a Cornwall-based personal injury solicitor, who specialises in head, spinal and amputee claims for those involved in accidents across the West Country and I’ve devoted my career to recovering damages for people injured by accidents that weren’t their fault. Over the years I’ve dealt with the tragic consequences of numerous collisions, and I know first-hand the devastating impact that the loss of a loved one has, and the devastating impact on an individual and his or her family upon sustaining life changing injuries.

Speed is a big factor.  I’m not just talking about speeding on open country roads but about exceeding speed limits in towns and villages.  34 per cent of all fatalities occur in 30 mph zones.  In fact, statistics show us that as many as 60 per cent of all accidents occur in these locations.

As a statistic it’s surprising, but it’s supported by the cases I have seen and dealt with over the years. I’ve successfully settled claims for so many people needlessly injured on the road:

  • A young gentleman who was on his bike setting off from a set of traffic lights, when the lorry to his outside decided to turn left without indicating. He was crushed under the side of lorry and lost his lower leg.
  • A young lady, a front seat passenger in a car being driven at speed. The driver lost control and wrapped the car around the tree. The Driver was killed and my client sustained a severe brain injury.
  • A pedestrian hit by the wing mirror of a car driving into blinding sunlight, a child knocked down crossing the road to the school bus, a cyclist knocked into a ditch by a lorry – I could name so many more examples.

Compensation does help but if not used correctly then it can only do so much. If you’ve suffered major injuries then the focus should be on rehabilitation. It is so important to try and ensure access to the best rehabilitation possible to ensure that you reach maximum recovery as early and as soon as possible, and that’s where my team and I are able to help.

But at the end of the day, I would prefer the accident doesn’t happen at all. My advice for safer driving is:

  • Don’t rush.
  • Take your time.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Avoid distractions and remain alert.


Road traffic accident claims in Cornwall

If you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to claim for compensation. Contact us today to find out more about bringing a no-win, no-fee claim.