2. Background

2. Background

2.1 This bulletin presents provisional statistics of reported injury road accidents (i.e. road accidents in which one or more people were killed or injured) in Scotland in 2019. These figures were extracted from Transport Scotland's reported road accident statistical database (based on ‘Stats19’ statistical returns made by Police Scotland) on 3 July 2020. Final 2019 figures will appear in Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2019, which will be published in October 2020 and may differ slightly due to late returns and amendments. For similar reasons, the figures given here for 2018 and earlier years may differ slightly from those published previously. Further information about the differences between the main figures in the publications can be found in section 11.2.

2.2 The statistics are the numbers of injury road accidents which were reported by the police. Each accident is classified according to the severity of its most seriously injured casualty. Very few, if any, fatal accidents do not become known to the police. However, there could be many non-fatal injury accidents which are not reported by the public to the police, and are therefore not counted in these statistics because the police can only report accidents of which they are aware. An article on under-counting in the statistics is included in Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2010 

2.3 The Scottish Road Safety Framework published on 15 June 2009, outlined Scotland specific road safety targets. The casualty reduction targets for 2020 are described in section 11.5. Progress towards them is covered in section 8, figures 4 to 6 and tables 5 to 9.

2.4 From around June/July 2019 Police Scotland has been using a new accident and casualty data recording system called CRaSH (Collision Reporting and Sharing). Before the introduction of CRaSH, police officers would use their own judgement, based on official guidance, to determine the severity of the casualty (either ‘slight’ or ‘serious’). CRaSH is an injury-based recording system where the officer records the most severe injury for the casualty. The system then automatically converts the injuries to a severity level from ‘slight’ to ‘serious’. Section 11.3 provides further detail on how injuries are classified. 

Since CRaSH removes the uncertainty that arises from officers having to assess the severity of casualties based on their own judgement, severity information collected in this way is expected to be more accurate and consistent. However, the move to an injury-based reporting system tends to result in more casualties being classified as ‘serious’ and therefore causes a discontinuity in the time series. The Department for Transport has carried out analysis to show what historical figures would have looked like if CRaSH had been used previously. These figures have been presented in sections 3 and 4.

2.5 Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2019 is one of a series of Transport Statistics publications. A comprehensive statistical picture of transport activity is given in the compendium Scottish Transport Statistics volume and the latest transport and travel trends from Scottish Household Survey transport data published in Transport and Travel in Scotland. Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2019 is followed in October by Reported Road Casualties Scotland, a volume which includes extensive analyses of the numbers of accidents, vehicles and casualties.  See Transport Scotland statistical publications for more details: 

2.6 We welcome comments and feedback on these statistics. Any comments can be addressed to us using the contact details below. 

Prepared for publication by:

Jeanine Bezuijen
Andrew Knight
Charlie Lewis
Transport Analytical Services
Transport Scotland
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
Telephone: 0131 244 7256
Email: transtat@transport.gov.scot

Summary Infographic