FORMER Formula One racing driver David Coulthard will today front a new campaign to cut deaths on Scotland’s rural roads, which account for 70 per cent of fatalities.
The latest TV adverts effectively make the issue an annual initiative for the Scottish Government, underlining its determination to reduce the toll.
The latest available figures, for 2011, show 129 of the 186 road deaths north of the Border were on country routes. Speed was the biggest cause, with men accounting for three in four deaths.
The campaign, thought to cost £250,000, is believed to be the first time any former F1 driver has taken part in a national road safety advert. It follows a previous series last March, which used “thought graphics” copied from the BBC’s Sherlock series.
Coulthard was chosen after research showed him to be a “respected and credible role model” among drivers. The campaign is aimed at men aged 22 to 40.
Coulthard, from Twynholm near Kirkcudbright, said: “I’m backing this year’s country roads campaign because I grew up in the south-west of Scotland, and did most of my early driving around there, so I’m aware that countryside driving comes with its own unique set of challenges.
“Driving on country roads takes more than simply being aware of the Highway Code; increased concentration and greater care is needed to adapt to the muddy tracks and changeable conditions which make country roads particularly tricky.”
Transport minister Keith Brown said Scottish road deaths were at their lowest since records began, but there were still too many avoidable fatalities. He said: “This innovative campaign can help get the message across that even the most qualified drivers in the world drive to the conditions on country roads.”