Fresh measures to improve road safety

Aberdeenshire Concil#s headquarters, Woodhill House.
Aberdeenshire Concil#s headquarters, Woodhill House.

A fresh bid to improve road safety in Aberdeenshire is to be considered by councillors.

It comes as provisional figures for last year show a slight drop in road casualties in the region. A draft plan going before councillors suggests various measures to help cut the casualty toll.

Among them is a move towards introducing 20mph speed zones and limits as the default in main settlements. Members of the council’s infrastructure services committee will discuss the draft plan today (Thursday). There were 427 road accident casualties in Aberdeenshire during 2016, down from 458 in 2015. Fatalities numbered 17, two less than the previous year. A total of 141 people were also seriously injured, compared to 153 in 2015.

The committee will consider a report outlining safety measures by infrastructure services director Stephen Archer.

It states: “The key figures and trends show that the reduction in the number of fatal casualties is in line with the target reduction figure, slight injury accidents have declined greatly, but serious injury accidents have remained stubbornly high and relatively unchanged. Every fatality on our roads is a tragedy and there is no acceptable number.”

The report adds: “It is apparent that there is a perception within our communities that Aberdeenshire is a place where there is a significant proportion of the driving age population who see speeding, dangerous driving and wider reckless road-based behaviours as acceptable. The impact of these behaviours is then reflected in the clear discontent from communities and local members, who consistently suggest that there is a requirement to change road user behaviour and make roads and communities safer.”

As part of the draft plan, the council will be asked to review its policy position to allow for the introduction of 20mph speed zones and limits as the default in all of the region’s main settlements. Under the measure, speed limits of 30mph and above would be the exception and require to be justified.