Death toll on Scotland's roads soars

Scottish road deaths soared by 14 per cent to 191 last year, ministers announced today.

Wednesday, 14th June 2017, 1:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th June 2017, 2:39 pm
Road deaths increased by 23 to 191 last year.

The provisional figures from its Transport Scotland agency showed an increase of 23 on 2015.

Serious injuries also went up, by 6 per cent to 1,693.

However, total casualties fell by 1 per cent between from 10,974 to 10,881 to their lowest number since records began.

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Child deaths increased from four to 12, serious injuries were up from 139 to 167, and overall casualties increased by 4 per cent to 1,011.

Three more cyclists were killed than in 2015 but pedestrian deaths were down by 12 to 32 - a record low.

Three more motorcyclists died and there were 31 more deaths among those in cars - the highest for seven years.

There was a 19 per cent increase in car users being seriously injured, and motor cyclist serious injuries increased by 4 per cent.

But the number of pedestrians seriously injured decreased from 424 to 397 and pedal cyclists seriously injured from 164 to 147.

Other modes of transport saw increases in the number of people seriously injured from 67 to 81.

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."