At least two-thirds of England’s single carriageway trunk road network rank poorly on international safety standards for road users, according to the Road Safety Foundation (RSF).

On a scale of four on the European Road Assessment Programme Road Protection Score, two-thirds of England’s 1,600km single carriageway trunk roads won only a two-star rating.

Of the total 90% fail to reach high standards for run-off protection and most use only road markings to prevent head-on collisions, a report by the body said.

The RSF inspected 95% of the 7,000km Highways Agency network in England for safety features including the provision of protection if vehicles run off the road, the risk of head-on collisions and junction safety.

For dual carriageways, the rating is three for nearly 78% of the network and for motorways it is four for half the network.

EuroRAP chairman John Dawson said most deaths happen on busy one- or two-star main single carriageway roads.

“This shows a need for urgent investment in affordable safety line markings, safety fencing and junction layouts,” Dawson said.