The north-east has been named the second worst region for road deaths in Scotland
In 2019, 19 people died in collisions on roads in the north-east, with 145 serious crashes recorded across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.
The north-east ranked second in Scotland for the number of deaths on any regions roads, with only the Highlands & Islands having more fatalities on its roads.
Transport Scotland’s provisional statistics for last year show there were 168 fatalities nationally, an increase of seven from 2018.
Of last year’s deaths there were 11 in Aberdeenshire, three in Aberdeen and five in Moray.
This is the same number as fatalities as 2018, however there were three more deaths in Aberdeenshire and one more death in Aberdeen compared to the previous year.
Moray saw a drop of four fatalities, year on year.
In Aberdeenshire there were 198 accidents recorded, involving 288 people. 80 of these collisions were listed as serious, with nine involving a fatality.
In Aberdeen there were 113 accidents, with 44 considered serious. Three of those resulted in fatalities.
According to the new figures, the number of deaths is lower than the average for the last five years.
It is a drop of almost 59% on the 2004 to 2008 period, which saw an average of 46 people die each year on roads in the north-east.
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Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM Roadsmart, said the statistics for the region highlights the need for authority’s to continue to provide safety education.
He said: “The worrying thing here is that Scotland appears to be bucking the UK trend as announced today where road deaths went down by 2% in 2019 compared to 2018.
“The north-east appears to be in the depressing position of contributing to that increase more than any other area apart from the Highlands.
“This trend underlines the need for more political support for road safety and increased investment in safer roads, police enforcement and education campaigns.
“The north-east has a good track record in campaigns on motorcycling and young drivers but these need long term support and consistent funding.”
Meanwhile, Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable Mark Williams said road safety is priority for the force and safety is the responsibility of all users.
He said: “Any death on Scotland’s roads is tragic and Police Scotland works tirelessly to fully investigate fatal road collisions and provide support to the families of the victims and all those affected. Road safety remains a priority for Police Scotland and we will continue to work closely with our partners to improve driver and road user behaviour, in order to achieve the Scottish Government’s casualty reduction targets.
“We all have a responsibility to use the road network safely, and I would urge all drivers and road users to think about their behaviour on the road, be considerate towards others and help us to make Scotland’s roads safe for everyone.”
Across Scotland, a total of 2,001 people were seriously injured in 2019, though changes in the recording system mean this cannot be directly compared to previous years.
The number of child casualties fell by 1% to 759, including two fatalities and 196 who were seriously injured.
Deaths among cyclists rose by two to eight, while pedestrian fatalities rose by 12 to 48.
The figures mean Scotland is on track to meet national targets for reducing casualties by 2020.
Despite the rise in 2019, the number of people who died has reduced by 42% from the baseline years between 2004 and 2008, with the target being 40%.
On average, two children died each year between 2017 and 2019, a reduction of 85% from the baseline. The target is for a 50% reduction.
Noting a fall in the overall number of casualties, the report said: “There was a total of 7,594 road casualties reported in 2019.
“This is 830 or 10% fewer than 2018 and the lowest number of casualties since annual records began in 1950.”
North-east road safety campaigner June Ross said the figures show the need for continuing education events for motorists like Safe Drive Stay Alive.
Her son, Ian Buchanan, died in a crash in 2010 and she launched the Don’t You Forget About Me support group to help other grieving families and friends.
June said: “Coming from the Highlands myself and growing up around regular deaths on the roads, I believe this is still due to poor countryside public transport, poor signage and maintenance on many roads and of course the ongoing issue with new drivers being inexperienced and also not truly realising the impact that speed can cause.
“The importance of events such as Safe Drive Stay Alive and constant safety officers into schools etc are needed to reinforce the devastation caused by such an incident and heartbreaking loss that ripples through so so many.”