The latest official figures show that Scotland has already achieved two of its four road safety targets for 2020.
Amongst the set of targets set out by the Scottish Road Safety Framework, Scotland were looking to reduce the number of fatalities on their roads from the 2004-2008 baseline by 40% by 2020, and to reduce the number of children killed on Scottish roads from the 2004-2008 baseline by 50%, by 2020.
However, the number of road fatalities on Scottish roads last year was already down to 50% of the 2004-2008 baseline, and the number of children killed on Scottish roads was already 61% less than 2004-2008 baseline, vastly surpassing the 2020 targets three years early.
The latest statistics also show reductions in the number of cyclist, motorcyclist and car driver fatalities on Scottish roads, as well as a reduction in the number of car drivers and pedestrians seriously injured on Scottish roads. This success is partly attributed to the use of average speed cameras on its trunk road network. These roads have seen fewer deaths since their introduction.
Scotland’s remaining targets for 2020 are to reduce the number of serious injuries on their roads to 55% from 2004-2008 and to reduce the number of children seriously injured on their roads by 65%.
Disappointingly, despite Scotland’s success, progress on improving overall UK road safety is slow. Although the UK’s roads are the second safest in Europe, behind only Sweden, The UK’s progress on reducing road deaths is slower than most of the EU. Only Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden are making slower progress, with the UK overall contributing little towards the EU’s target to reduce EU road deaths by 50% by 2020.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, says that improvements in UK road safety have “stagnated in recent years”, and that this news should “act as a wake-up call to the Government”.