Charity calls for action to cut number of road casualties

Picture: Contributed
Picture: Contributed
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A road safety charity is calling for action to cut speeding after figures showed more than 9,700 people were injured and 159 killed on Scottish roads in the year to June.

Brake is making the call as part of Road Safety Week after other Scottish Government figures, published earlier in the year, showed a 14 per cent rise in road deaths in Scotland during 2016 compared with 2015.

There were 191 fatalities on the country’s roads in 2016, 23 (or 14 per cent) more than the previous year.

New analysis by Brake found that exceeding the speed limit was a major factor in 291 crashes in Scotland last year, a rise of over a quarter (26 per cent since 2013.

Travelling too fast for the prevailing conditions contributed to 510 crashes during 2016, Brake said.

Provisional statistics from the Department for Transport found that 9,705 people were injured and 159 were killed in crashes on Scottish roads in the year to June 2017.

The charity is now calling for the introduction of a default 20mph limit in all built-up areas, increased police enforcement and Intelligent Speed Adaptation, which helps drivers stay within the speed limit, to be fitted as standard to all new vehicles.

In September, the charity pledged its support for proposals put forward by Mark Ruskell MSP (Green) for a default 20mph limit in built-up areas in Scotland.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Speeding remains a major problem, causing untold suffering to families up and down the country.

“Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, such as a child stepping out from between parked cars, it’s a driver’s speed that determines whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t, how hard they will hit.

“That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to ‘Speed Down Save Lives’ for Road Safety Week this year.

“We fully support Mark Ruskell’s proposed bill and want to see more urban areas going 20 right across the UK.

“Travelling at lower speeds drastically reduces the risk of death and serious injury and encourages more walking and cycling - relieving pressure on the NHS and other public services.”

Brake said travelling at higher speeds increases the distance it takes to stop in an emergency - both in terms of thinking and braking time - increasing the severity of any crash, the risk of loss of life and the extent of serious injury. Road Safety Week 2017 runs from November 20-26, with support from the Department for Transport and sponsors Aviva and BriteAngle. It aims to inspire schools, organisations and communities to take action on road safety.