Fewer deaths on our roads

A 17-year-old male driver was charged after a road traffic accident in Rothesay in the early hours of October 10, 2014.
A 17-year-old male driver was charged after a road traffic accident in Rothesay in the early hours of October 10, 2014.

There was an increase in the number of people who sustained serious injuries on Borders roads last year.

Councillors will hear today there were 74 such casualties in 2013, compared to 67 over the previous 12 months.

The figure exceeds the Scottish Government casualty reduction target of 62 for the region’s road network, including trunk routes.

By contrast, there were just four fatalities, including one motorcyclist – the lowest death toll since records began in the mid-1970s and a vast improvement on the 10 who died in road accidents in 2012.

The statistics are contained in an annual road safety report which will be presented to Scottish Borders Council’s environment and infrastructure committee.

Compiled by SBC’s network manager Brian Young, the report stresses that, although there were more serious injuries in 2013, the overall trend remained downwards.

Mr Young says that between 2004 and 2008, the average annual number of serious casualties was 95.

He reveals that one-third of the serious injury accidents occurred in the two summer months of June and August and that one incident alone accounted for six casualties.

For the third successive year, no child under 16 was killed, while the number in that age group sustaining serious injury remained static at five – just above the Holyrood target figure of 4.8.

The number of slight or minor injuries was also unchanged at 25 – well within the target of 38.

Mr Young states: “In general terms, 2013 was another positive year with the long-term trend of accident casualty reduction in the Borders being continued.”

His report confirms that the council has an annual capital allocation of £50,000 to spend on signage and road markings at cluster sites which have been the focus of three or more injury accidents within a year.

Mr Young says that, going forward, the multi-agency Scottish Borders Road Safety Working Group will focus on those road user groups which continue to be a particular concern.

These include cyclists, five of whom have been killed in the last five years, and motorcyclists who account for 23 per cent of all fatal and severe injury accidents – well above the national average of 16 per cent. Since 2008, 10 motorcyclists have died in the region.