Transport for London (TfL) has removed white lines from parts of the A22 and A23 in south London and the A100 in central London in an attempt to slow drivers down. TfL has suggested it may now extend the move to other roads. A further scheme is planned in Norfolk and trials have also taken place in Wiltshire and Derby.
RAC public affairs manager Nicholas Lyes said: "The RAC very much doubts that this will be the end of the road for white lines on major roads. While a thorough trial is needed to weigh up the pros and cons before a decision is taken to remove lines from roads, it feels a bit like the idea of removing traffic lights.
“There may be some areas where there's a benefit but a lot where the disadvantages outweigh any potential benefits. And their removal would also likely lead to an increased ‘fear factor’ of driving and accidents for the majority of motorists who take confidence from clear road markings.
“We are also seeing the incorporation of ‘lane assist’ technology in modern vehicles reliant on the white lines to trigger an alert warning the driver that they are straying out of lane. The same technology is also being used in prototype driverless cars so it seems counter-intuitive to remove white lines from major main roads and motorways.
“It could be seen as a cynical attempt at road safety on the cheap and there will be some that are keen to suggest it is a cost saving, albeit a small one in the overall cost of road maintenance.
“It feels instinctive that white line road markings an essential feature keeping our roads safe and lanes clearly defined in both daylight and the hours of darkness. And we must not forget the development of cat’s eyes in the 1930s has been universally heralded as one of the greatest road safety improvements of all time used all over the world. The reflective glass spheres are a familiar and valuable sight for drivers reassuring them that they are travelling safely in their own lane in the hours of darkness.”