Scotland achieves road safety targets with years to spare

Chris Ames

Scotland has achieved a major success in road safety taking the country ahead of its 2020 target for reducing road fatalities. 

New official statistics showed Scotland’s road safety targets - as set out in the Scottish Road Safety Framework - had been achieved years in advance, after deaths on roads fell by nearly a quarter in 2017.

Compared to the 2004-2008 baseline, in 2017 there were:

  • 146 fatalities, representing a reduction of 50% on the 2004-2008 baseline. (The 2020 target is a reduction of 40%.
  • 1,580 serious injuries, representing a reduction of 39% on the baseline. (The 2020 target is a reduction of 55%.)
  • an average of six children killed over the last three years, representing a reduction of 61%. The 2020 target is a reduction of 50%
  • 152 children seriously injured, a reduction of 53% on the baseline. The 2020 target is a reduction of 65%.

Transport Scotland has championed the use of average speed cameras on its trunk road network, with some success. Recent statistics show cameras having an impact on the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness, which have seen 10 fewer deaths on the road over a three-year period

In 2017, non built-up roads (with a speed limit of over 40mph) accounted for two-fifths of reported casualties but just over two thirds (70%) of those killed and almost half (47%) of those seriously injured. 

Officials said this will be at least in part due to the higher average speed, and because such roads also make up two thirds of Scotland's road network.

The new statistics show that compared with the 2004-08 average, there has been a greater reduction in casualties on non built-up roads (48%) than built-up roads (43%) with the cut in non built-up roads fatalities also greater (at 51%) than for built-up roads (at 47%).

Background trends

The figures also show that the total number of casualties fell by 14% between 2016 and 2017 from 10,905 to 9,391, which officials said was the lowest number since records began in 1950. The number of people seriously injured fell by 7% to 1,580.

In 2017 there were 899 child casualties in reported road accidents, a fall of 10% since 2016. This included two fatalities, 10 fewer than in 2016, and 152 children seriously injured, down from 167 in 2016.

There were three fewer cyclists killed than in 2016 but six more pedestrian fatalities. There was also one fewer motorcyclist killed and 41 fewer car user fatalities.

While 2017 saw a 13% fall in car users seriously injured and the number of pedestrians seriously injured fell from 399 to 370, serious injuries to motorcyclists rose by 4%, and the number of cyclists seriously injured rose to 171 from 148 between 2016 and 2017.

Other modes of transport saw falls in the number of people seriously injured from 122 to 97.

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