Road Safety News

Review underway as Scotland road death increase is confirmed

Thursday 22nd October 2015

Derek Mackay, Scotland’s transport minister, has announced a review of  progress towards delivering 2020 casualty reduction targets after national statistics this week confirmed a 16% increase in road deaths in 2014.

The final statistics for 2014 confirm the provisional data which revealed that 200 people were killed on Scotland’s roads in 2014, while the number of people seriously injured rose by 2% to 1,699.

As a result, the Strategic Partnership Board has opened a review of progress towards delivering Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020 which has the ultimate vision of “a future where no-one is killed on Scotland’s roads”.   

Derek Mackay said: “This (review) is focussing on priority areas of speed and motorcyclists, younger and older drivers, and cyclists and pedestrians.  It will help maintain momentum as we work towards meeting our challenging road casualty reduction targets over the next five years to 2020 and beyond.”

In contrast to deaths and serious injuries,  total casualties fell by 2% year on year, from 11,504 to 11,268, while child casualties fell by 3% to 1,034.

Mr Mackay added: “These statistics, which confirm the provisional figures published in June, demonstrate that while some progress is being made in our long-term efforts to reduce casualties on Scotland’s roads there is more work to do.

“Every fatality is a tragedy for the families and lives affected. The increase in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads in 2014 is disappointing but the number of overall casualties is at an all-time low and we can learn lessons from that as we move forward.

“Scotland is taking the lead in the introduction of new measures to reduce the number of people hurt on our roads, with a reduced drink driving limit and the A9 average speed camera system.  

“All aspects of safety are being considered, significant investment is being made to improve safety for cyclists and we have recently published guidance encouraging councils to implement 20 mph zones in residential areas to help slow down traffic there.”


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I have read comments on this and other related sites which used Scotland as an example and pioneer of road safety expertise as they have apparently got it right. That they have come up with a number of very successful initiative and interventions, that have apparently reduced the toll of injured and killed in Scotland. Now we know the truth of the matter. They are suffering just as much as the rest of the UK.
Bob Craven, Lancs. Space is Safer Campiagner

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Is it an increase or decrease in the number of actual collisions? I think this is a better indicator of the effectiveness of any interventions.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Add these figures to the revelation from the TfL that the figures for 2015 are going to be just as bad and the vain hope that the 2014 figures were a statistical 'blip' is fast receeding. Interesting also to note from another article that the WHO have coined the term 'stabilising' as a euphemism to cover up the fact that their figures aren't going down any more either.

I always find in situations like this that the the words of Dr Russell Ackoff always seem to help. "Any manager can look good in an improving market, but it's when the market starts to fall that the managers of true worth are revealed".
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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Re- the third para. Why can't the ultimate vision be “a future where there are no collisions on Scotland’s roads”? Any road accident is traumatic - I don't think we should have a cut-off point where injuiries are acceptable but fatalities aren't. The collision causation factors are identical anyway.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Thank you for clarifying Nick. Because the A9 average speed cameras were not installed within a scientific trial, there isn't any data to directly compare to. Furthermore, the A9 report has no evaluation of selection effects (RTM), nor of trends, and no evaluation of the many other changes. It is quite possible, therefore, that all of the changes on the A9 (both the increase in fatalities and the reduction in serious injury) would have occurred anyway, even without the average speed cameras.

We need to start taking road safety seriously and I hope the review in Scotland will consider implementing an evidence-led approach. We are, as a society, committing huge resources into road safety so let's make sure that our efforts do result in fewer deaths. That is a goal worth achieving.
Dave Finney, Slough

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Just to be clear, here's what our report said:

"The Group describes the first set of casualty data as 'very encouraging', with the number of fatal and serious casualties between Dunblane and Inverness (the stretch of the A9 where cameras are operating) down by 50% when compared to the average for the same period between 2011-2013. The Group says there have also been 'substantial reductions' in the number of injury accidents and overall casualties.

"However, the data also shows an increase in fatal casualties on the stretch of the road between Perth and Inverness."

Here's the link to our full report so readers can put this in context:
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

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Road Safety GB ran a news story on the average speed camera system on the A9 and we learnt that this was where some of the increases in deaths on Scottish roads occurred. The trouble is, though, that the A9 average speed cameras were not installed within a scientific trial so nobody knows whether these speed cameras contributed to the increases, or prevented even more.

The problem of poor quality of evidence is easy to solve simply by running scientific trials. If the review were to implement a policy where all future interventions were deployed within scientific trials, Scotland would lead the world in evidence-led road safety.

I wish the review all the best in their deliberations and look forward to a future where road deaths are systematically reduced to the target of zero.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (7) | Disagree (10)