NEARLY 20 fatal accidents have occurred on the North Devon link road in the last 15 years, new figures have revealed.
The statistics, released under a Freedom of Information Act request, also show there have been more than 50 collisions classed as 'serious' on the road since 1997 and an average of almost one recorded incident a week on the road in that time.
The A361, which links Tiverton and Barnstaple, opened in 1989, but Devon and Cornwall Police only hold collision data from April 1, 1997, and no longer have access to the previous recording computer system.
The figures show that between April, 1997, and July, 2012, on the stretch of road between Bolham roundabout in Tiverton and Barnstaple, there were a 738 recorded traffic incidents, of which, there were:
19 fatal collisions
51 serious collisions
275 slight collisions
393 damage-only collisions.
Of the collisions recorded on the stretch, 13 resulted in a prosecution and 11 for offences which ranged from failure to stop following a road accident, driving of a vehicle while unfit through drugs and driving a vehicle without due care and attention.
The prosecution and conviction data which the police supplied only dates back to April, 2005.
The statistics were provided from the force's collision computer systems AccStats and prosecution and conviction data was compiled using the force computer system.
Changes in the way that accidents are classified have also been introduced in the last five years, which the police say could make the data not comparable before January, 2008.
From January 1, 2008, damage-only traffic collisions will not be recorded unless there is a clear purpose for doing so, such as a police vehicle or another emergency vehicle responding to an incident are involved.
From March, 2010, non-injury traffic collisions have not been recorded or investigated unless one or more of three conditions apply; a driver has failed to stop, allegations have been made at the scene or their is corroborated evidence about the manner of driving or an offence is apparent, such as a driver being arrested for excess alcohol.
The North Devon link is one of the county's busiest roads.