MANCHESTER Road between Huddersfield and Oldham is one of the most dangerous in the UK.

Figures released today by the AA Motoring Trust highlight the deadly 11-mile stretch across the Pennines.

Between 2001 and 2003 there were 20 fatal smashes on the road - one more than the two-year period before.

In total, 35% of the accidents happened at junctions, 5% involved pedestrians or cyclists, 14% were cars leaving the road and 5% were head-on collisions.

The remaining 20% were non-specific.

The A653 Dewsbury Road, from Junction 28 of the M62 into North Kirklees, is also an accident blackspot. Between 2001 and 2003 12 people were killed on the road.

Both routes buck a national trend for safer roads.

Philip Gwynn, of West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, said that although the figures for the A62 between Oldham and Huddersfield were disappointing deaths were falling in the rest of the region.

He added: "We are very pleased with the figures. We are about to release our own for 2004. They show the roads are safer now than they have been since records began back in the 1970s.

"In areas like Manchester Road we put speed cameras on some stretches as a last resort.

"Now we have to educate drivers and warn them about the dangers of ignoring speed limits, not only for their own safety but for that of other road users."

The AA report did raise concerns about the number of motorcyclists dying on rural roads. The worst road for motorcycle accidents was the A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton.

An AA Motoring Trust spokesman said: "We know the roads where deaths and serious injuries are routine and predictable.

"Our analysis highlights where resources can be targeted to save most lives.

"The report shows how relatively simple road engineering solutions, together with speed compliance technology on unforgiving roads, can slash the death toll."