Death toll on Scotland's roads soars

Road deaths increased by 23 to 191 last year.
Road deaths increased by 23 to 191 last year.
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The number of people killed in cars on Scotland’s roads increased by 41 per cent last year in figures described by safety campaigners today as “deeply troubling”.

A total of 106 drivers and passengers died - 31 more than in 2015 and the highest for seven years.

The rise cancelled out a reduction in the overall death toll in 2015, which went up by 23 to 191.

The provisional figures from Transport Scotland also showed serious injuries were up, by 6 per cent to 1,693. These included a 19 per cent rise among those in cars.

However, pedestrian deaths fell by 12 to 32 - a record low. The number of cyclists killed increased by three to eight - back to the same number as in 2014.

Motorcycle deaths were up by three to 30, which was also their 2014 level.

There were three bus and coach deaths, compared to one in 2015- the most for 12 years.

Van and lorry deaths were down from 13 to six, while those involving taxis, minibuses and other forms of transport doubled to six.

Child deaths increased from four to 12 and serious injuries were up from 139 to 167,

Total casualties, including slight injuries, fell by 1 per cent from 10,974 to 10,881 to their lowest since records began.

Road safety group Brake described the figures as "deeply troubling".

Spokesman Jason Wakeford said: "It's shocking to see more fatalities on Scotland's roads last year, and more children, cyclists and motorcyclists needlessly losing their lives.

"Today's statistics show that, while progress is being made toward some of the 2020 Scottish Road Safety Framework targets, there is far more work to be done.

"We must strive for a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

"We urge the Scottish Government to implement a default 20mph limit in built up areas, accompanied by additional speed enforcement on roads by the police.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of motoring group IAM RoadSmart, said: "These figures continue a worrying trend in road safety in recent years.

"At best, deaths have flatlined or are going back up after decades of improvement.

"The solutions are not simple. Current policies such as 20mph are clearly not delivering the step change in road safety expected.

"The Scottish Government policy for road safety has been reviewed, but issues such as traffic police numbers, local investment, road maintenance and speeding up delivery of new schemes needs to be looked at again."

Scottish Liberal Democrats transport spokesman Mike Rumbles said: "Though I welcome the downward trend in casualties generally, I am particularly concerned that fatalities have increased by 14 per cent

"There is a great deal of work to be done to prevent these unnecessary deaths on Scotland’s roads.

“Action to improve our rural roads is required to reduce casualties and save lives.

"That means improved signage, prompt repairs and an awareness campaign to address the dangers of rural driving.”

Scottish Greens transport spokesman John Finnie said: "The increase in cyclists being killed underlines the need for serious investment in cycling infrastructure.

"More and more people are attracted to the benefits of cycling for health, financial and environmental reasons, so the government really needs to step up and deliver the safe cycle routes and junctions that people deserve.

"Continuing to spend less than two per cent of the transport budget on walking and cycling is simply not good enough."

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “It’s disappointing there has been an increase in the number of fatalities and the number of people seriously injured on our roads in 2016.

"The Scottish Government and our road safety partners will redouble our efforts in order to reach our ambitious and challenging casualty reduction targets set out in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020.

"At the same time, we all need to take responsibility for protecting ourselves and other road users when using the road network.

“The longer term downward trends are positive and show we are making good progress towards meeting our targets and the annual decline in the total number of casualties, to the lowest level since records began, is encouraging.

"However, I am resolute in my determination to save lives and to meet the ultimate vision set out in the Framework, where no-one is killed on Scotland’s roads."