>> 22 June 2010

Gordon MSP Alex Salmond has welcomed a fall in the number of people killed and seriously injured on Aberdeenshire’s roads.

His comments came following the publication of the 2009 Reported Road Casualty statistics by the Scottish Government. However, while praising the efforts of Grampian Police and partner agencies in tackling the behaviour of problem groups of drivers, he cautioned that the behaviour of a minority still meant that the casualty rate was higher than it should be.

In all, 21 people lost their lives on Aberdeenshire’s roads in 2009, compared with 26 in 2008 and 25 in 2007. When it came to those seriously injured, the numbers fell to 205 in 2009 from 232 in 2008 – but still higher than the figure of 163 for 2007.

Elsewhere, the figures showed that across Scotland, the reported number of deaths fell by a fifth to 216, while the total number of casualties fell by four per cent to 15,013 - the lowest since 1949.

Responding to the figures, Mr Salmond said:

“These figures are encouraging, and hopefully will start to mark the beginning of a sustained fall in the number of road casualties in the North East.

“Too many local families over the years have been left to mourn the consequences of poor driving. Sadly, the behaviour of some drivers still leads to heartache for the friends and families of those they leave behind.

“The work of Grampian Police, alongside the Fire and Rescue Service and other agencies in educating people – particularly young drivers – about the potential consequences of their actions on the road, is something which I admire greatly.

“By continuing to take the road safety message direct to schools, colleges and the workplace, I hope that their combined efforts can continue to make the North East’s roads safer places to be."

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

"This is a welcome drop to the lowest number of casualties in Scotland for 60 years, continuing the downward trend witnessed in recent years.

"The number of deaths, and in particular those of children, fell last year. This is an area on which we have particularly focused over the last three years and we'll continue to work with schools, councils and the police and other partners to minimise the number of children and young people involved in road accidents.

"Our 10 year road safety framework for Scotland includes an ambitious programme of new education resources, the use of new technology to cut speeding and drink driving and action on school bus safety. It will, I am confident, save even more lives over the next decade.

"We have a vision of no road deaths and, working with road safety professionals, see no reason why that ultimately cannot happen."

The Road Safety Framework sets distinct and challenging targets for reductions in road casualties in Scotland over the decade from 2011, after the end of the current GB targets. These are the first ever Scottish road safety targets - for a 40 per cent reduction in fatalities; 55 per cent reduction in serious injuries; a 50 per cent reduction in children killed and 65 per cent reduction in children seriously injured based on the 2004-2008 average.

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