The roads minister, Robert Goodwill, wants the Highways Agency and local councils to consider the introduction of a 'star rating' system for the country's roads.

Such a system would help to identify the most dangerous roads to travel on and name the local authorities with the worst roads – thereby putting them under pressure to undertake improvements.

Major roads across Europe are already rated by the EuroRAP system and a new UK rating programme might operate in a similar way.

Goodwill believes similar systems have already had a "positive impact" on road networks globally, improving safety for drivers and their passengers.

Some high profile car breakdown organisations have welcomed the move, since it would highlight roads where accidents occur most often.

Experts believe such a star rating programme could be incorporated into journey planners, too.

EuroRAP currently uses a colour-coding system to rate risk levels on EU roads, including those of the UK. It also suggests how safety could be improved on each road.

The programme recently named a stretch of the A285 linking Chichester and Petworh in West Sussex as the most dangerous in the country.

But EuroRAP also names safe roads: a 5.5 mile stretch of the A404 linking Amersham to the M25 saw deaths and injuries fall by 92 per cent over the last three years. EuroRAP states this is down to better road markings and upgraded cat’s eyes.

Any new system appears to be some way off, however, as the roads minister explained: “So while it’s far too early to say if we’ll adopt star ratings here, I have asked my officials to look into their benefits and strengths, particularly EuroRAP and iRAP.”

By Craig Hindmarsh