Road Safety News

Fatalities on Scotland’s roads increase by 16%

Wednesday 17th June 2015

While the total number of casualties on Scotland’s roads in 2014 fell by 2% to the lowest number since records began, the number of fatalities rose by 16%, from 172 to 200, and the number of people seriously injured also increased by 1% to 1,694.

Derek Mackay, Scotland’s transport minister, described the increase in fatalities and serious injuries as “disappointing”.

The figures also show that in 2014 there were 1,040 child casualties in reported road accidents, a year on year decrease of 2%. This included seven fatalities, two fewer than 2013, and 171 children who were seriously injured, up from 143 in 2013.

There were five fewer pedal cyclists killed than in 2013 but 18 more pedestrian fatalities. There were also eight more motorcyclists killed and four more car user fatalities.

2014 saw a 5% reduction in car users seriously injured and a small decrease in bus and coach users seriously injured but other modes of transport saw increases in the number of people seriously injured. There were 5% more pedestrians and pedal cyclists seriously injured and a 14% increase in the number of motorcyclists seriously injured.

The statistics provide updates on progress against Scotland’s road safety targets as set out in the Scottish Road Safety Framework.

Derek Mackay said: “The increase in fatalities and the number of people seriously injured in road accidents in 2014 is disappointing. It demonstrates the need for every one of us to take responsibility when using the road network.

“The longer term downward trends and the annual decline in the total number of casualties, to the lowest level since records began, are encouraging but more can, and must, be done.

“At the Road Safety Framework Strategic Partnership Board Meeting earlier this month I launched a review of our progress in delivering the Road Safety Framework to 2020.

“Transport Scotland is working together with road safety partners to assess the progress that has been made to date, with the aim of redoubling our efforts and focus through to 2020 and beyond.”


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In the last year of legacy Scottish Police Forces 1st April 2012 to 31st March 2013 - 174 people killed on Scotland's roads.

1st year of Police Scotland 190 people killed, 2nd year 193. You can see where this statistic is going....

Please don't get confused with the 'bundling' of words for the purpose of hiding bad statistics ie 'number of people killed and seriously injured'. You need to separate them as the way they are gathered is flawed to say the least.

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Duncan, I am still trying to get clear in my mind what a "fully compliant non-speeding driver" is? Let alone how they can be the biggest killer? If fully compliant then are they not driving with due care and attention? If so, then their likelihood of "killing" another road user is surely diminished? I would be grateful if you could expand as I keep seeing this statement but do not understand it.
Nick, Lancashire

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Hugh - the only severity of injury that is almost invariably reported to the police, and for obvious reasons, is fatalities. Reporting levels of SI, last time I looked, was about 1 in 3.7 and logic suggests an even lower level, again for obvious reasons, for slight injuries.

As there is no legal requirement to report non-injury collisions (aka Fender-benders) those numbers are likely to be even less reliable. The best indicator of risk trend is therefore fatalities, given sufficient data to smooth out out the numbers.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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Prolonged exchanges like this don't go down well with some readers apparently, so I'll just say that Duncan and I are obviously on different wavelengths with regard to collision causation, road user behaviour and remedies.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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In a system where the fully compliant, non-speeding driver is the biggest killer perhaps Hugh might enlighten us as to what behaviour the system needs to be (re)designed to prevent?
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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The highway network and all that happens on it could be seen as a 'system'. However when it goes wrong i.e collisions, I see it as individual failures. Putting it another way perhaps, the abilities of the individuals within the system vary so much in terms of competency, responsibility and therefore behaviour, that whilst some may see it as a 'system failure', it is, but only in the sense that the 'system' fails to prevent such individual behaviour happening and allows it go unchecked to the extent it needs to.
The reason I question the KSI measure, is that it can be down to such things as vehicle design, medical treatment etc. which is not strictly speaking, a measure of collision prevention.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Exactly right Hugh, I didn't know you were a systems thinker! The KSI figures are not a very reliable indicator of system performance due to the effect of random variation on the outcomes.

Much better to look at the 'accident pyramid' which reveals far more about the safety of the overall system than the KSI figures ever will.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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Rather than quote the consequences of road collisions as an indicator i.e killed or injured which can be subject to influences beyond what might be called road safety interventions (or the absence of them) and of course, the behaviour of those involved, the actual number of recorded collisions I think, is more relevant.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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It would be interesting to know on which roads these fatalities occurred. I have just come back from a trip along the A9 to Kincraig, and the SPECS cameras seem to have reduced the speed of many, but did witness a queue of cars behind a camper van which was headed by an articulated lorry, which pulled out to overtake on the other side of the road in a dangerous move (it failed). Catching up with the lorry on the dual carriageway section revealed a Hungarian plate.

The ‘New’ A9 as it is locally known as, has been a bone of contention amongst Highlanders since built. Firstly that it took trade away from the many towns en-route, but markedly that with some sections of dualling divided by long fields and trees, one can often be lulled into thinking a similar looking section of single carriageway is a dualled section. This in itself can be a lethal factor, despite signs to indicate two-way traffic. Build a high-speed road, and that is what people will want to travel at.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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The rise in the figures is probably down to a change in the common cause variation inherent within the road transport system. An SPC chart would soon show whether this variation was in control or not.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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It's nothing new to me that the largest increases in deaths and incidents are amongst motorcyclists. And the reason is one, better weather for riding and two, more and more adventure style bikes being sold particularly the ever popular BMW ranges, or similar types. Riders who in the past have had racing bikes are moving over to adventure bikes and so are new or back to biking riders.

Over the last few years there has been a shift in popularity of these adventure bikes.

They are still from 650cc up to 1200cc machines and just as powerful in terms of BHP as racing bikes. They are the new phenomena and increasingly popular. They don't ride like a racing bike and therefore need different handling abilities and set ups.

Get it wrong and one is off. I wonder if there was an increase in incidents where no other vehicles were involved. I would like to know.
Bob craven Lancs.....Space is safe Campaigner

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