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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 13:53 GMT
Road deaths 'lowest in 50 years'
Police accident sign
The minister said more needed to be done to reduce accidents
The number of deaths and injuries on Scotland's roads in 2005 were at their lowest level in more than 50 years.

There were 286 deaths - 7% fewer than in 2004 - and 2,652 people reported as seriously injured, 4% fewer than 2004.

Transport Minister Tavish Scott welcomed the statistics but said recent accidents showed that road safety messages still needed to be heeded.

"While today's statistics are encouraging, we can not and will not be complacent," he said.

The statistics also showed that between 1995 and 2005 the number of road deaths fell by 30%.

Over the period the number of people killed or seriously injured fell by 45% from 5,339 to 2,938.

It has been all too evident in recent months that road safety messages, particularly among young drivers, still need to be heard
Tavish Scott
Transport Minister

Of last year's fatalities, 11 were children, one fewer than 2004.

The figures revealed that young male drivers were the most likely to be involved in road accidents in Scotland.

Accidents involving people in cars and pedestrians, the two most common source of casualties, both fell.

There were 1055 car user casualties in 2005, 5% fewer than in 2004, and 3,033 pedestrian victims, down by 1%.

However, there were rises in the number of motorcycle injuries, up 10% to 1,082 last year, and for cyclists, up 1% to 780.

Motorways have the lowest accident rates, with death rates highest for non built-up A and B roads.

The most common reason for fatal accidents was attributed to loss of control, which was given as the cause in 36% of cases.

Speeding accounted for just 10% of road fatalities.

'Tragedy potential'

The figures come days after the number of road deaths in the Grampian Police area so far this year reached 55.

Mr Scott said young people were particularly at risk from becoming a statistic.

"As the police, A&E doctors, road safety experts, and the families of those who have tragically died in road accidents will tell you, we all need to do more," he said.

Murdo Fraser
Murdo Fraser said some figures were "extremely concerning"

"It has been all too evident in recent months that road safety messages, particularly among young drivers, still need to be heard.

"We need to educate people, young and old, to the dangers of driving, and the potential for tragedy every time they get into a vehicle."

Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Conservatives' deputy leader, welcomed the fall in deaths but warned there were some "extremely concerning" findings in the figures.

He said they proved that further action was "very necessary" to prevent the "needless loss of young life".

He said he would be holding talks with road safety groups with a view to implementing a system where newly-qualified drivers display green plates.

"Every week in Scotland, too many families and communities suffer tragic deaths and injuries caused by risk-taking young drivers," he added.

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