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The Road Safety Framework, targets and reducing road casualties

Transport Scotland has three road safety teams - the Road Safety Policy team, Road Safety Scotland, and the Strategic Road Safety team.

Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020: A strategic partnership

Transport Scotland has strategic responsibility for delivering the 96 commitments contained in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020  and is committed to safer roads in Scotland.

The Framework also includes challenging casualty reduction targets set by Scottish Ministers, based on the 2004-2008 averages, and there is a national indicator within the Scottish Government performance framework that says we will reduce deaths on Scotland’s roads.

Scottish national road safety targets 2011 - 2020:
Target 2015 Milestone % Reduction 2020 Target % Reduction
People killed 30 40
People seriously injured 43 55
Children (aged < 16) killed 35 50
Children (aged <16) seriously injured 50 65

The latest number of reported road casualties in 2014 is the lowest level on record. However, an increase in fatalities and the number of people seriously injured in road accidents over that year shows why we must do all we can to ensure the number of deaths and injuries continues to fall.

Ministers aim to further reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on all Scotland’s roads in partnership with key road safety partners throughout Scotland.

Road safety framework mid-term review

The Strategic Partnership Board undertook an evidence-based mid-term Review of the Framework in 2015/16. The Review, which adopted a participatory approach, assessed the progress made since the Framework was published in 2009 and has identified three key Priority Focus Areas around Speed, Age and Vulnerable Road Users for further focus. The Review Report and Strategic Plan to 2020 was published in March 2016 and sets out an approach to ensure continued delivery of road safety outcomes towards 2020 casualty reduction targets and beyond. Partner high level activity during 2016/17 in support of Road Safety Framework outcomes will be subject to regular monitoring and review by the Strategic Partnership Board.

Road safety policy

The road safety policy team is responsible for helping to ensure the delivery of the short-term, medium-term and long-term commitments in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020, in partnership with other key stakeholders. 

Therefore, it is vital that co-operation, dialogue and appropriate decision-making takes place at a strategic level.

Transport Scotland has set up a Strategic Partnership Board and supporting Operational Partnership Group with representation from a variety of organisations with a vested interest in road safety.  The Board and Operational Partnership Group both meet bi-annually with all minutes published online.  The Board and the Group consider a range of evidence on road safety interventions.

Road safety interventions

The Board and the Group consider a range of evidence on road safety interventions.   As we seek to deliver evidence based road safety policies and interventions, we have been working in conjunction with our partners to take forward a range of research, evaluations and debates on issues such as school transport safety and young drivers.

We have produced a range of reports:


On 5 December 2014, legislation came into effect lowering the drink-driving limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, with equivalent changes to the limits in breath or urine.  This brought Scotland into line with the majority of other European countries and Scotland is now firmly leading the way across the UK.

Figures released by Police Scotland in 2015 show that the number of drink-driving offences in Scotland have fallen by 12.5% from December 2014 to August 2015, compared to the same period the previous year.  In real terms, this is a fall from 4,208 to 3,682 offences.

Devolution of powers to set national speed limits

The Scotland Act 2016 saw devolution of the last remaining powers over speed limits; notably the 30mph default urban limit as well as powers on signage and engineering under the Traffic Signs Regulation and General Directions. 

We welcome the devolution of powers on the basis that the Scottish Government wanted the control to make the right decisions on speed limits and signage on Scotland’s roads rather than have changes imposed by Westminster.

School transport

Power was devolved from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament in 2015 to allow legislation to make seatbelts a legal requirement on dedicated school transport in this session of Parliament. 

Our intention is for the requirement to come into force in 2018 for vehicles carrying primary pupils and in 2021 for those transporting secondary students.

Statutory school bus signage

Glasgow City Council evaluated enhanced signage in 2015 and we are currently considering the report’s content before deciding on what lessons this can provide for enhanced signage outwith Glasgow.

One key factor emerging from Glasgow’s findings is that the existing statutory minimum sign is not well-recognised, possibly in part to a lack of prominence in the learner driver process and driver guidance and literature. 

The UK Government has confirmed that suggestions made by the Minister for Transport and Islands are being taken forward when he requested measures be taken to raise awareness of the sign such as adding further clips featuring school buses to future official UK driving test hazard perception videos and amending the Highway Code to make the statutory minimum sign appear more conspicuous section of the Highway Code.

20 mph zones and limits

The Scottish Government is committed to reducing risk on Scotland’s roads and recognises the impact of vehicle speed. Originally produced in January 2015, in conjunction with the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland, the Good Practice Guide on 20mph speed restrictions has now been updated.

The Guide aims to ensure greater consistency on setting 20mph speed restrictions throughout Scotland, and encourages Local Authorities to introduce them near schools, in residential zones and in other areas where there is a significant volume of pedestrian and/or cyclist activity.

There has been a notable uptake of 20mph proposals, with Edinburgh City Council initiating a rollout of a 20mph scheme for the entire city in 2016, with an expected completion date in 2018. A number of key arterial routes will maintain their 30 and 40mph speed limits.

Road Safety Framework Annual Report

Scotland’s road safety achievements are summarised in an annual public report. 

The 2015 report was published in March 2016. 

Road Safety Scotland

Road Safety Scotland (RSS) helps to deliver many of the commitments in the Road Safety Framework and is directly responsible for the development of road safety education materials which provide an end-to-end education and training programme in road safety starting from early years and continuing throughout the school curriculum and beyond.  These resources are provided free of charge and many are supported by websites.

In collaboration with the Scottish Government Marketing Team, RSS also develops large-scale social marketing campaigns to tackle a variety of important areas of concern in Scotland, such as drink-driving, country roads and parental influence.  Campaign activity can be found on the  ‘Don’t risk it’ website.

Strategic road safety

Our strategic network road safety team is responsible for monitoring the safety performance of the trunk road network as well as analysing injury accident data.  From this work, the team takes remedial measures to reduce or eradicate identified accident types at specific sites.  We carry out audits on new constructions and installations and consider new technologies such as improved road material and roadside furniture.

Scotland's motorways and trunk road network represent only 6% of all Scotland’s roads.  This network carries 37% of all traffic and accounts for 16% of all injuries related to road accidents.

Strategic Road Safety Plan

The Strategic Road Safety Plan sets out how Transport Scotland delivers road safety on the trunk road network.  We have taken the opportunity to update the Road Safety Plan and to refocus our work on further reducing the numbers of accidents and casualties on our Trunk Roads.

This refreshed Plan reinforces our use of a Safe System approach within the road transport system.  This approach is centred on the premise that death and injury is unacceptable and that they are avoidable.  This refresh builds upon that approach to more clearly address risk mitigation and focus particular efforts on addressing the safety of vulnerable road users.

It includes an Action Plan aligned with the five pillars of the Safe System approach and identifies how the work of Transport Scotland’s Strategic Road Safety Unit will contribute to the Government’s casualty reduction targets for 2020.

The Scottish Safety Camera Programme also plays a key role in helping to make Scotland's roads safer.

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