Scotland road safety: Difficulties on journey of progress

19/06/2019

Latest figures suggest Scotland achieved mixed results in road safety last year, with another record breaking drop in overall casualties but an increase in the number of people killed on the roads.

Official provisional statistics reported that 160 people were killed in reported road accidents in Scotland in 2018, 15 more than in 2017 - roughly a 10% increase.

However, the total number of casualties fell by 11% between 2017 and 2018 from 9,433 to 8,402, once again reaching the lowest number since records began, while the number of people seriously injured decreased by 1% to 1,581.

Data on the number of casualties goes back to 1938 with annual collection of data starting in 1950.

Scotland is making progress on all five of its core road safety targets under its road safety framework for 2020 - from its 2004-2008 baseline - but so far is on track to only reach three of them:

  • The 160 people killed in 2018 represents a reduction of 45% since the baseline  and performance is currently exceeding the 2020 target of a 40% reduction
  • 1,581 people were seriously injured in 2018, a reduction of 39% since the baseline, although performance is not currently on track to meet the 2020 target of a 55% reduction
  • On average, there were six children killed each year between 2016 and 2018, a reduction of 63% since the baseline with performance currently exceeding the 2020 target of a 50% reduction
  • There were 142 children seriously injured in 2018, a reduction of 56% since the baseline but performance is not currently on track to meet the 2020 target of a 65% reduction
  • The 2018 slight casualty rate was 13.84 casualties per 100 million vehicle kilometres, a reduction of 57% since the baseline, meaning that performance is currently exceeding the 2020 target of a 10% reduction

The figures also show that in 2018 there were 756 child casualties in reported road accidents, a decrease of 16% since 2017; however this included three fatalities, one more than 2017. 

In 2018 there were six pedal cyclists killed, one more than in 2017, and five fewer pedestrian fatalities. There were four more motorcyclists killed and 11 more car user fatalities.

Last year saw a 1% increase in both car users and motor cyclists who were seriously injured. However, the number of pedestrians seriously injured decreased from 379 to 362 and the number of pedal cyclists seriously injured fell from 171 to 156.

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