Scottish Road Deaths Fall To Record Low

Scotland Witnesses Improvement In Road Safety

24.10.2014

Scotland's roads have seen a major fall in the number of serious accidents to a record low level.

The tally of people killed or seriously injured on the roads in 2013 was 11,498 overall, itself the lowest figure since 1950, Transport Scotland said.

Of these, the death toll was down by three per cent to 172 and the number of serious injuries declined by 16 per cent to 1,672. The number slightly injured was nine per cent lower.

Transport Scotland's report stated: "In all cases of severity, the figures were the lowest since records began. The reductions in the numbers of accidents and casualties in recent years are notable, particularly given the rise in vehicle and subsequent traffic."

It added that this came about despite there being four per cent more licensed vehicles on the roads in Scotland than there were in 2003, when there were 301 casualties. The downward tally of fatalities has now continued every year since 2006, when there were 293 deaths.

One reason for the lower casualty toll may be a fall in drink-driving levels, with around 440 accidents caused by alcohol in 2012 - the most recent year for which figures are available - compared with 820 in 2002, a 46 per cent reduction.

However, it was not all good news. The number of children killed in 2013 was nine, up from just two in 2012, while the number of cyclists who lost their lives in road accidents rose from eight to 11. There were also 137 serious injuries and 773 who were hurt in total.

A Transport Scotland spokesman welcomed the fall in deaths, but said "every life lost is one too many".

"We have achieved a lot, but there is still much to do particularly in respect of safety issues for vulnerable road users," he added.

The Scottish figures were in line with national trends, which were published by the government last month. These revealed that there were 1,713 road deaths in the UK in 2013, two per cent down on 2012 and the lowest number since records began in 1926.

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Expert Opinion
The nature of our work means we have seen the devastating, life-changing consequences that road traffic collisions can have, which often leave those involved suffering serious long-term physical and psychological trauma from which they never recover in some cases.

"It is welcome to see the number of serious accidents in Scotland falling to record-low levels, but it is important that more is done to improve road safety standards to continue reducing the number of serious incidents taking place on Scotland’s roads. It is vital that all road users are aware of and understand the inherent risks of using the roads, particularly when vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and children, are involved.”
David Bell, Associate