Committee updated on commitment to reducing road casualties
At yesterday’s Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee members were given an update on progress made by the Highland Road Safety Group to ensure a lasting reduction in road casualties on Highland roads.
The lead agencies of the Highland Road Safety Group are The Highland Council, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, BEAR Scotland and the Northern Safety Camera Partnership. The partners co-ordinate their resources and closely work together towards cutting the number of casualties through a programme of education, engineering and enforcement.
Targets to reduce road casualties have been set out in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework called “Go Safe on Scotland’s Roads is Everyone’s Responsibility”
As well as leading the Highland Road Safety Group, the Council has a statutory duty, under the Road Traffic Act 1991, to prepare and carry out a programme of measures designed to promote Road Safety.
Chair of the Committee, Councillor Angela MacLean said: “The report is very encouraging as it shows the number of 17 to 25 year old car drivers involved in injury accidents has fallen from an average of 168 in the years 2004-2008 to 110 last year. The figures for motorcycle casualties also show a downward trend. However, the targets we have been given to achieve by 2020 are challenging and the only way to achieve these is by a proactive multi-agency approach with everyone involved and playing their part.
“A lot of good work has already been done to make our roads safer. Members were told during the meeting that we are close to reaching one 2020 target - to reduce the number of people seriously injured to 72, but we cannot afford to become complacent. The cost in suffering and economic term caused by accidents is enormous which is why everyone is committed to working together and make safe travel a priority.”
The Council’s Road Safety team particularly focus on working with school children to raise awareness and a letter will be going out to all head teachers encouraging schools to participate in the various initiatives the teams run. They also promote Safer Routes to Schools and work with schools to secure funding to improve the safety of pupils walking and cycling to school. Staff in the team review the safety implications of all new and improvement engineering through the design and construction stages and carry out safety audits to make sure schemes operate as safely as possible. They also promote national safety campaigns and have been busy this month raising awareness of the new lower drink drive limit.
Councillor Angela MacLean added: “It was very fitting that this update on work to improve Road Safety came to our committee on the same week that the new lower drink drive limit was implemented. Everyone has a part to play in staying safe. Cyclists and pedestrians need to make sure they are highly visible, especially at this time of the year, and drivers need to be aware that even having one drink now can put them over the limit. We want everyone to enjoy a safe festive season so I would ask everyone to take extra care.”