Drivers’ role in making Border roads safer

ROAD casualties on Scotland’s roads continue a downward trend and are at their lowest since records began.

Compared to 2009, the number of deaths on Scotland’s roads fell by four per cent in 2010 to 208 and the number of serious injuries fell by 14 per cent to 1,960.

In the Borders there were 82 fatal and serious injury accidents (the average over the last four years was 84). Of these, eight were fatal, and in total there were 307 accidents on Borders roads.

Inspector Colin Shillito, of Lothian & Borders Police road policing division in the Scottish Borders said: “Thankfully there is a downward trend throughout Scotland compared with the Government targets, however this does not mean casualty reduction becomes any less of a focus for us.

“Within the Scottish Borders the rural roads network often means vehicles travel at higher speeds, which unfortunately can result in collisions being more serious than they are in urban areas.

“If we also consider there are still a core of motorists who continue to flaunt areas that contribute to collisions, such as drink driving, speeding, seatbelt misuse and distraction through things like mobile phone use, then it is important that we do not become complacent with these latest results.

“Within the Scottish Borders we target resources to the identified problem areas and causes. Yes this does see both marked and unmarked high performance road patrol vehicles and motorcycles operate on a daily basis and these patrols are supported with deployments of the safety camera unit and their mobile vans.

“However it also allows us to work on an educational level, perhaps along with our modified car and young drivers or with motorcyclists through our website www.aroundthecorner.org.uk.

“Ultimately our aim is to reduce the casualties that occur on our roads and we will continue to work closely with our many partners to achieve that.

“However drivers and motorcyclists have a big part to play.

“ My officers continually deal with collisions where inappropriate speed or driving/riding behaviour has been the sole contributory factor to a collision, a factor that is in the hands of the driver or rider. Yes let’s blame the wet road or tight bend, however in most if not all the collisions we see if we approached and dealt with these things appropriately then the collision would not have occurred.

“Yes many of our beautiful roads in the Scottish Borders carry a national speed limit, however it is a limit not a target. Just because it is 60mph does not mean we must travel at that speed. I would ask drivers and riders to exercise patience and tolerance, to respect the communities they travel through and to drive or ride according to their ability that of their vehicle and always within the parameters of the law.”

Transport Minister, Keith Brown welcomed the reduction in the number of fatalities and casualties on Scotland’s roads, continuing the downward trend witnessed in recent years.

“We have exceeded GB road safety targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries to the end of 2010 by a considerable margin,” he said.

“However, even one death on Scotland’s roads is unacceptable and we remain committed to achieving further reductions.

“We undertook a wide ranging debate on young drivers’ safety at the end of last year, and published a report in March 2011. We are working closely with our partners to take forward a range of recommendations to address the disproportionately high rate of casualties amongst this age group. This will be a key priority for us in the coming months.

“My vision is for there to be no road deaths and, we will continue to work towards that ultimate goal in tandem with the road safety community in Scotland.”

Chief Constable Kevin Smith, president of ACPOS and Chair of the Road Policing Business Area said: “I welcome these encouraging figures which demonstrate that our partnership approach to casualty reduction is working.

“Across Scotland, thousands of people are caught every year not wearing a seatbelt and the results from our summer campaign show that there are still people willing to risk their lives and the lives of others by driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Tackling these issues continues to be our priority. In terms of enforcement, we believe that legislation to make certain seatbelt offences ‘endorsable’ and a reduction in the drink drive limit would contribute further to reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.