North East Scotland has the highest road casualty rate in Britain, new analysis of official figures shows today.
The grim finding follows what could be Scotland’s worst spate of road deaths for years, with at least 14 people killed in the two weeks to last Friday.
Road safety campaigners warned that casualties peaked in November - the month after the clocks go back an hour. The new study found the Banff and Buchan Westminster constituency had Britain’s highest rate for deaths and serious injuries between 2010 and 2014, at 103 per cent - or more than double - the average.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine was second worst, at 79 per cent above average, with Gordon tenth at 63 per cent.
By contrast, the analysis by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety and insurer Direct Line found East Renfrewshire had the eighth equal lowest rate, of 39 per cent below average. A pedestrian who was hit by a car on the A96 near Huntly in Gordon on 29 October was one of the recent spate of deaths.
Meanwhile, Police Scotland said yesterday a 20-year-old man had been charged with dangerous driving after being caught doing 110mph on the A96 at Kintore in Gordon on Saturday.
Inspector Ewan Innes, of the Aberdeenshire and Moray divisional road policing unit, said: “We have seen an increase in collisions over the past two weeks, particularly during morning and evening commuting times. The mornings and evenings are now darker, while roads are damp and can be covered by wet leaves.
“Our simple message to all motorists is to allow more time for your journey, slow down and drive according to the road and weather conditions.”
Neil Greig, Scotland-based policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the north east constituencies in the top ten was “yet another grim reminder that the death and injury toll on Grampians roads is far too high.
“With many miles of single carriageway road, it will take years for engineering solutions to deliver improvements, although police enforcement can always be made more high profile in the meantime.
“The slightest mistake on a country road often leads to the least survivable types of crashes – head-ons, side-ons and run-offs. Far from relaxing on a country road, drivers must be at their most vigilant.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency said: “Protecting vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, is a top priority which is why we are working with partners, through Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020, to reduce risks.
“More widely, the transport minister [Derek Mackay] recently instigated a mid-term review of the framework to assess its original priorities, establish if they remain valid and to ensure continued delivery of road safety improvements.”