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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Road safety advice for tourists
Foreign visitors will get road safety advice
Transport Minister Sarah Boyack is calling for improved road safety advice for foreign visitors after new statistics showed a marked increase in the number of summer car crashes.

Research found that most of the accidents caused by overseas tourists were due to them driving on the wrong side of the road.

The road accident figures also show that there are significantly more accidents during the summer months.

Researchers say that the number of road crashes appears to increase when more tourists are driving in Scotland.

Sarah Boyack
Sarah Boyack has pledged executive action
The statistics show that crashes in tourist areas like the Highlands, Argyll and Bute and Aberdeenshire are more likely to be fatal.

British tourists are blamed for trying to overtake on unfamiliar single track roads while foreign visitors are guilty of driving on the wrong side of the carriageway.

Local drivers, however, are most likely to be involved in accidents and researchers say that police should continue to discourage Scots from driving too fast.

The statistics have prompted Ms Boyack to pledge support from the Scottish Executive to improve road safety.

She says the executive will work more closely with the police to give safety advice to foreign visitors.

There will be leaflets made available about basic road safety and improved road signs, reminding drivers to drive on the left hand side of the road.

Rigorous targets

The move comes just five months after Ms Boyack announced that nearly 12m would be given to local councils for road safety initiatives.

The cash was earmarked for projects which encouraged walking, cycling and safer streets initiatives.

The executive has already set rigorous new targets for reductions in road accidents by 2010.

The road safety message must get through to those who are unfamiliar with roads in rural tourist areas

Sarah Boyack, Transport Minister
These include achieving a 40% reduction in all deaths and serious injuries; a 50% reduction in deaths and serious injuries of children and a 10% reduction in the slight casualty rate.

Ms Boyack said: "There has long been a perception by people living in rural tourist areas that there is a particular problem with overseas and visitor drivers being involved in road accidents.

"This research has been valuable and informative, placing tourist accidents in the context of road accidents as a whole.

"The road safety message must get through to those who are unfamiliar with roads in rural tourist areas.

"It is important local authorities and police road safety units target the promotion of road safety campaigns at UK tourists and foreign drivers.

"Although rural tourist areas do suffer a greater number of accidents involving overseas and visitor drivers in the summer season, because of the number of tourist visiting the area at that time, it appears they are not more likely than local drivers to be involved in an accident at other times of the year."

See also:

12 Mar 01 | Scotland
New bid to cut road deaths
23 Jul 00 | Scotland
Highland road death toll rises
08 Jun 00 | Scotland
Dozy motorists to 'drink and drive'
13 Dec 99 | Scotland
Police push to improve road safety
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