Official statistics have shown a steep rise in road deaths in Scotland last year, with the final figures confirming a tragic 16% increase in fatalities with 200 people reported killed.
Transport Scotland revealed that as well as the increase in fatalities between 2013 and 2014, the number of people seriously injured also increased by 2% to 1,699. However the total number of casualties fell by 2% between 2013 and 2014, from 11,504 to 11,268, the lowest number ever recorded.
The figures also show there were 1,034 child casualties in reported road accidents last year, a fall of 3% since 2013. This included seven fatalities, two fewer than 2013, and 171 children who were seriously injured, up from 143 in 2013.
Transport minister, Derek Mackay, said: 'The increase in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads in 2014 is disappointing but the number of overall casualties is at an all-time low and we can learn lessons from that as we move forward.'
He stressed that Scotland was taking the lead in the introduction of new measures, with a reduced drink driving limit and the A9 average speed camera system, as well as investment in cycle safety and recently published guidance encouraging councils to implement 20 mph zones.
'At my request, the Strategic Partnership Board has started a review of the progress being made towards delivering the Road Safety Framework to 2020. This is focussing on three priority areas of speed & motorcyclists, younger & older drivers and cyclists & pedestrians. It will help maintain momentum as we work towards meeting our challenging road casualty reduction targets over the next five years to 2020 and beyond,' he added.
The Scottish Road Safety Framework sets out strict targets for road safety in the devolved nation. Compared to the 2004-2008 baseline, in 2014 there were:
· 200 fatalities, a reduction of 31% (2015 milestone - 30% reduction; 2020 target - 40% reduction).
· 1,699 serious injuries, a reduction of 35% (2015 milestone - 43% reduction; 2020 target - 55% reduction).
· an average of six children killed over the last three years, a reduction of 61% (2015 milestone - 35% reduction; 2020 target - 50% reduction).
· 171 children seriously injured, a reduction of 47% (2015 milestone - 50% reduction; 2020 target - 65% reduction).
The report also found that fatalities on Scottish non built-up roads comprise 67% car occupants, 16% motorcyclists and 17% others. And despite the relatively low traffic volumes on rural roads, seven out of 10 fatal crashes still occur in rural locations.
Research in 2007 by the IAM found that, on Scottish rural roads, about 75% of all fatal and serious accidents are accounted for by four main crash types: head-on collisions (12%), running off the road (24%), junctions (24%) and pedestrian/cyclist (15%).
The Scottish Government vowed that in partnership with other stakeholders, it would encourage ‘any proposal by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to include specific pre-test training on rural roads’ and would support targeted police enforcement campaigns on rural roads.