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'More obstacles for safer driving'

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Driving could be made safer by adding more obstacles onto the road, a new study has suggested.

Around 31% of motorists are more likely to take motoring risks as they get bored and want some excitement, the study by Newcastle University researchers found.

Speeding and overtaking are among the common offences committed by such speed-lovers, who could also be faced with higher car insurance premiums if caught.

According to the researchers, increasing the number of obstacles, such as removing kerbs, can help bring down the tendency to be rash.

Lead researcher Dr Joan Harvey said: "Contrary to what you might expect when driving, hazards can actually increase our attention to the road so this may well be the way forward for planners.

"In towns we may need to start considering some radical schemes such as removing kerbs so there are more hazards - like pedestrians - around your car. Our research suggests that this might actually improve people's driving."

Around 1,563 motorists were questioned about their motoring style and personality for the research, which found that both younger drivers and women form much of the 31% of thrill-seekers.

Nearly 35% of responders, who were categorised as "enthusiastic", said they find driving challenging or interesting. Their risk of getting into a crash is far smaller than the previous category, researchers said.

© Press Association 2011