Too many vulnerable road users still being killed or injured

There are still far too many people being killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads, according to the latest report from Transport Scotland.

The most recent figures published by Transport Scotland showed that there were 12,575 reported road casualties with 170 fatalities and 1,959 seriously injured.

In 2012, 898 cyclists alone were injured, an increase of 9% since 2011. Among motorcyclists there were 7% more casualties although there were 12 fewer deaths last year compared to 2011. Pedestrian casualties dropped by 5%, with 54 people killed and 1,950 injured.

More men are killed, or seriously injured, on Scottish roads than women and there has been a 1% increase since 2011 in casualties aged between 16 and 24 years old.

Where are these accidents happening?
In 2012, non built-up roads (roads with a speed limit of over 40mph), accounted for 41% of the total number of reported casualties. Non-built up roads make up two thirds of Scotland’s road network and they accounted for 62% of fatalities.

Number of fatalities according to police force division and council:

  • 20 Highlands
  • 19 Tayside
  • 19 Lothian and Borders
  • 16 Aberdeenshire and Moray.
20 Highlands

Number of serious injuries according to police force division and council:

  • 247 Aberdeenshire and Moray
  • 227 Greater Glasgow
  • 189 Edinburgh
  • 180 Tayside
  • 172 Lothian and Borders.

When do they happen?
The number of accidents between the years 2007-2011 were evenly spread throughout the year, with minor peaks in August, September and November. Serious incidents varied more between the other months, and their peak, which occurred in June, was 11% above the monthly average.

The time of day, road surface conditions and the type of road (e.g. built-up) contribute to the severity of an incident. As you would expect, severity rates are higher on non built-up roads than on built-up roads. Severity rates are also higher in darkness than in daylight.

On weekdays, the peak time for adult car user casualties was from 4pm to 6pm. Friday had the peak numbers of adult car user casualties with 10% more than the average daily number of adult car user casualties.

Why do the collisions happen?
Speed
On average, between the years 2007-2011, 72% of car user fatalities occurred on roads with a speed limit of 60mph. Non-built up roads accounted for 60% of those car users who were seriously injured.

Alcohol
In 2011, 59% of motorists involved in collisions were asked for a breath test (this ranged from 54% to around 80% across the police forces). The breath test proved positive (or the motorist refused to take the test) for 3.4% of those drivers breathalysed. This represented 2% of the total number of motorists involved (including those who were not asked for a breath test).

Irwin Mitchell comments
Irwin Mitchell represents thousands of victims and the families of those tragically killed and seriously injured in road collisions across Scotland from Shetland down to the Borders.

Elaine Russell, a partner and serious injury expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Glasgow office, said: “While the most recent statistics show a drop of 5% in the number of pedestrian casualties, 54 people still lost their lives and another 1,950 were injured on Scottish roads.

“At Irwin Mitchell we see the devastating consequences road traffic collisions can have on other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians and even one death or injury is one too many. The causes range from a simple lack of concentration to driving poorly or dangerously in hazardous conditions and road collisions are, by their very nature, almost always avoidable. That means that every year thousands of people are being killed or injured unnecessarily.

“Over the summer we saw more cyclists, including children, out on their bikes so it is important that all road users take extra care on Scotland’s roads to prevent incidents like these happening in the future.”

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the Government is investing £58 million on improving the cycling infrastructure, training and road safety messages. This includes a number of cycling safety initiatives including the ‘Give Me Cycle Space’ social marketing initiative to promote driver awareness of cyclists and the ‘Mutual Respect’ campaign which aims to target consistent safety messages to all road users.