DEATHS on Scotland’s roads are at their lowest level in half a century.
Greater awareness of the dangers of speeding, enforcement through the use of speed cameras, education through road safety campaigns and the introduction of safer cars, road cambers and speed bumps have all played their part.
This together with the crackdown on drink driving and the use of seat belts has made our roads safer than ever, and safer than many other countries.
However, we should not be complacent, as the latest statistics demonstrate.
Our story today reveals that road deaths in the Lothians have jumped by one third in the last eight months, with 17 lives lost in accidents, compared with 12 for the same period the year before. Hundreds were also left seriously injured.
Rural roads remain the most dangerous and an ongoing campaign across Scotland aims to tackle this.
But in our towns and cities there are also huge dangers. Last month, city accountant Ian McCance, from Marchmont Crescent, was knocked down and killed by a taxi within yards of his home as he crossed Marchmont Road near its junction with Warrender Park Road.
Among 25 people killed over the eight months in Lothian and Borders, 11 were pedestrians, while three were cyclists.
Campaigners understand that cycling deaths are likely to go up as more people take to two wheels. Meanwhile, the addition of the trams on our streets from 2014 will add a fresh hazard for all road users.
One of the most successful strategies has to be target accident hotspots by introducing greater safety measures such as warning signs, speed-activated electronic alerts and anti-skid surfacing.
Continued vigilance by all road users will ensure deaths once again fall in 2013, because even one is too many.
Height of ambition
With money as tight as ever, charity fundraisers have a mountain to climb these days.
So well done to the Edinburgh University team who are taking on the challenge of scaling Everest to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation (Scotland). Not literally, obviously, but by completing the same distance up and down the stairs of their workplace.
The 24-hour challenge is no walk in the park so let’s hope they get as much support as possible for a very worthy cause.
We imagine there will be quite a queue for the lift the next day.