First rise in deaths on Scots roads for 8 years

DEATHS on Scotland’s roads increased in 2014 for the first time in eight years, ministers announced today.

A total of 200 people were killed last year, 28 more than in 2013. Picture: TSPL
A total of 200 people were killed last year, 28 more than in 2013. Picture: TSPL

The news confirms Scotland on Sunday research which revealed last month there had been a rise, mainly due to increased pedestrian and motor-cyclist deaths.

A total of 200 people were killed last year, 28 more than in 2013, provisional figures from the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency showed.

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The rise brings the total to its highest for four years, and follows falls every year since 2006, when there were 314 deaths.

The total number of serious injuries also went up, by 1 per cent to 1,694. However, total casualties, which also include less serious injuries, were down by 2 per cent to a new low of 11,240 since records began in 1950.

Pedestrian deaths increased by 18 to 56, including six in the Glasgow bin lorry crash in December. However, it was still lower than the 2012 total of 60.

Deaths among motorcyclists were up by one third – by eight to 31.

There were also 93 car driver and passenger deaths, up four.

But cyclist deaths were down by five to eight, one fewer than the 2012 total of nine.

Transport Scotland said reasons for the overall increase would be included in its final report in October.

Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “The increase in fatalities and the number of people seriously injured in road accidents in 2014 is disappointing.

“However, it also demonstrates the need for every one of us to take responsibility when using the road network.

“The longer-term downward trends and the annual decline in the total number of casualties, to the lowest level since records began, are encouraging but more can, and must, be done.”

Mr Mackay said the lower drink drive limit “will undoubtedly” help prevent deaths, while the A9 average speed cameras were “already delivering benefits”.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said a review of the Scottish Government’s road safety plan is needed.

Scotland-based policy and research director Neil Greig said: “While in many areas figures are falling, in some very important ones they have risen alarmingly.

“There has been a lot going on in road safety in Scotland, with projects such as the A9 average speed cameras coming on stream, but the challenge of breaking the link between rising traffic and crashes remains a huge one.

“Alongside the government, the IAM want to see more incentives for individuals and companies to improve the quality of their driving and riding.

“New roads and new cars have delivered year-on-year death reductions for decades but the underlying human factors involved must now receive even higher priority.”

Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing for Police Scotland, admitted there was “still a lot of work to be done to improve safety”.

He said: “The significant increase in pedestrian fatalities is particularly concerning.”