Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2020 - Key findings report


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Information in this report is based on Key Reported Road Casualties, Transport Scotland’s annual National Statistics publication on injury road accidents in Scotland.

These statistics are based on information Police Scotland collect for all road accidents where someone has been injured. Accidents in which there are no injuries, or accidents not reported to the police are therefore not included in these figures.

A casualty is someone who was injured or killed in an accident. Depending on the severity of the injury, Police Scotland classifies the casualty as killed, seriously injured or slightly injured.

These statistics are provisional; final statistics will be published in October.

The statistics in the publication are used by Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, Local Authorities and road safety professionals to target interventions to make Scotland’s roads safer.

Total number of casualties

There were 4,992 road casualties reported in 2020. This is 2,726 or 35% lower than 2019, and a decrease of 61% compared to 2011.

The large decrease of casualties in 2020 is likely to be related to lower levels of traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department for Transport (DfT) estimate that motor traffic volume dropped by 23% in Scotland in 2020 compared with Department for the previous year.

The number of casualties recorded in 2020 is the lowest since annual records began in 1950.

Total number of casualties, 2011 – 2020

Graph showing total number of casualties dropped from 12,785 in 2011 to 4,992 in 2020

Casualties by severity

In 2020, 142 people were killed, 1,539 people were seriously injured and 3,311 people were slightly injured in road accidents.

There were 490 child casualties reported in 2020, representing 10% of all casualties. Six children were killed, and 176 children were seriously injured.

Both the number of people seriously injured and the number of people slightly injured show a downward trend.

Proportion of casualties by severity, 2020

Graph showing proportion of casualties by severity, as explained in text above

Number of people killed

In 2020, the number of people killed decreased by 14%, from 166 to 142.

This latest drop follows on from a long-term downward trend. Since 2000, the number of people killed decreased by 56%, and in the last decade the number decreased by 32%.

The number of males killed rose by 2 to 111, whereas the number of females killed fell by 26, to 31.

The number of people killed in 2020 is the lowest since annual records began in 1950.

Total number of people killed, 2011 2020

Graph showing total number of people killed drops from 185 in 2011 to 142 in 2020

Casualties by mode

Car was the mode of transport with the highest number of casualties, and the highest number of people killed, followed by pedestrians. 

Compared to last year, the total reported casualties decreased across all modes except pedal cyclists which increased by 2%.

These changes may be partly due to the effects of the pandemic on travel patterns; cycling levels increased whereas most other modes saw a decrease.

Compared to 2019, the number of people killed decreased across all personal modes except bicycle, which saw an increase (from 10 to 11).

People killed by mode of transport, 2019 and 2020

Chart showing number of people killed by mode of transport, as explained in text above

Progress against 2020 targets

Scotland’s 2009 Road Safety Framework sets out the vision for road safety in Scotland. It includes specific casualty reduction targets to be achieved by 2020.

Provisionally, 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.

Target 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



Note: Please note that due to changes in severity recording, the number of seriously and slightly injured people cannot be directly compared to those reported in previous years. Progress against these targets has been calculated on the basis of adjusted figures provided by the Department for Transport.

Key Resources

Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland presents provisional annual headline figures for road casualties reported to the police in Scotland. It is usually published in June.

Reported Road Casualties Scotland presents the final annual figures for road casualties reported to the police in Scotland. This publication also provides detailed statistics and analysis on the circumstances of road casualties. It is usually published in October.

Both publications are available on the Transport Scotland website. The website also provides more information about Transport Scotland’s approach to maintaining and improving road safety.

Contact us

Andrew Knight
or Charlie Lewis
Transport Analytical Services
Transport Scotland
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ


Published Date 24 Jun 2021 Type