Finalised road casualty statistics for 2020

Finalised statistics for 2020 confirm that the number of people killed in reported road accidents in Scotland in 2020 has shown a decrease from 2019, falling from 166 to 141.

The Reported Road Casualties publication released today by Transport Scotland Statisticians provides finalised figures for the number of people injured or killed as a result of road accidents. Provisional figures were published in June.

The finalised statistics for 2020 confirm that, in a year where travel habits were significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, 141 people were killed in reported road accidents in Scotland in 2020, 25 fewer than in 2019. There were also 1,547 people who were seriously injured.

There was a significant drop in the overall number of casualties, which fell by 35 per cent between 2019 and 2020 from 7,745 to 5,040, the lowest number since records began.

The casualty reductions will have been significantly influenced by the general reduction in motor traffic seen over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department for Transport estimate that motor traffic volume dropped by 23% in Scotland in 2020 compared with 2019.

Compared to 2019, the total reported casualties decreased across all modes except pedal cyclists which increased by 2%. As context for this increase, cycling on the Scottish road network is estimated to have increased by 61% in 2020 compared with 2019.

In February, the Scottish Government published a new road safety framework running until 2030. The previous road safety framework ran until 2020 and contained five national casualty reduction targets for 2020. All 5 targets have been met. Prior to the casualty reductions seen in 2020, Scotland was not on track to meet the two targets relating to serious injuries.


2020 target reduction

2020 achieved reduction

People killed



People seriously injured



Children (aged < 16) killed



Children (aged < 16) seriously injured



Slight injury rate per 100m vehicle kms



Other findings contained in the report include:

  • Car driver accident rates per head of population varied markedly by age and sex. In 2020, the overall rate was 1 accident per thousand population aged 17+. The highest rate was for males in the 17-25 age group, with a rate of 1.9 per thousand population in 2020. This rate is one and a half times those of females of the same age (1.2 per thousand in 2020).
  • The latest available estimates suggest that the number of drink-drive accidents fell by 57% between 2009 and 2019: from 530 accidents to 230.

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

The full statistical publication is available on the Transport Scotland website.

Published 27 Oct 2021 Tags