WATCH: Sportsman who lost friend in crash backs safety drive

Scotland and Glasgow rugby player, Stuart Hogg, tragically lost his best friend, Richard Wilkinson, in a crash on a country road in 2009 and is supporting the campaign.
Scotland and Glasgow rugby player, Stuart Hogg, tragically lost his best friend, Richard Wilkinson, in a crash on a country road in 2009 and is supporting the campaign.

Rugby star Stuart Hogg from Hawick is fronting a major road safety campaign to cut death and injuries on country roads, writes Bob Burgess.

The Scotland and Glasgow player’s friend Richard Wilkinson was killed in a road accident on a rural road in 2009.

And he is now backing a Scottish Government initiative which was launched this week urging drivers to watch their speed.

It is mainly aimed men aged between 20 and 40 who, experts say, have a higher risk of being involved in a crash.

Stuart commented: “Losing my best mate Richard will live with me forever and was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. It could have easily been me and I think about him every day and all of the things he’s missed out on.

“I’m supporting the new campaign to encourage people to take extra care on country roads and I hope I’m doing Richard and his family proud.”

Superintendent Fraser Candlish of Police Scotland said: “We are urging drivers to take extra care on country roads, as you never know what hazards are waiting round the corner or when something unexpected might happen. It’s important to drive according to the road conditions as driving even slightly too fast can turn avoidable incidents into serious and ultimately fatal crashes. We hope this new campaign will contribute to a reduction of deaths on Scotland’s roads.”

Scotland’s minister for transport Derek Mackay said: “We are committed to achieving safer road travel in Scotland for everyone and clearly we are heading in the right direction. However we still have a long way to go, particularly with younger male drivers.”

The campaign features a fictional crash on a country road which has devastating consequencies.