This is the sixth annual report for Scotland's Road Safety Framework to 2020 since the Framework was published on 15 June 2009.
I am delighted to be able to say that, as 2013 was a year of change around Police and Fire reform, and of our Road Safety Partners seizing the opportunities that presented, 2014 has been a year of consolidation and of delivering considerable achievements and progress towards the Scottish Government's shared outcome by 2020 of safer road travel in Scotland for everyone. We have seen a landmark change in our nation's drink-drive legislation which has seen Scotland leading the way in the United Kingdom, and that coupled with the steadfast enforcement activities of Police Scotland, will undoubtedly prevent the tragic and unnecessary loss of lives on our roads.
There have also been step-change achievements in the speed management and improvement of driver behaviour on one of our busiest roads, the A9; bringing in seatbelt legislation to keep our children safe and secure on their school buses; and on making our city streets safer for vulnerable road users by guiding Councils towards setting lower, safer speeds.
I have been impressed both by the scale of those achievements in the last year, but also by the strength and commitment of the partnerships that exist across the range of Scotland's road safety professionals, which are generating the outcomes that will bring us closer on the challenging journey towards realising our road safety targets to 2020.
Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2013 was published on 22 October 2014. The downward trend in Scotland's road casualty figures continues, down 10% in 2013 with the number of people killed and injured at the lowest level since current records began. The progress in delivering the 96 commitments contained in our Road Safety Framework undoubtedly has contributed to that. However, the journey to delivering our 2020 targets for reducing road casualties is a long-haul and that is why we should not become complacent in addressing the challenges that remain. These challenges can be met in part through analysis of the annual statistics which can highlight areas of road safety where we should re-focus and redouble our efforts.
Our Road Safety Framework sets out the range of approaches that is moving Scotland's Road Safety Community towards our mid- and long-term casualty reduction targets and our partners across the length and breadth of the country have remained as committed in 2014 as they have ever been.
There has been continued momentum on progress to ensure road designs and standards fully consider the needs of motorcyclists and on Road Safety Scotland's future plans to include a new motorcycle safety campaign for 2015-16 which will reinforce the message that motorcycle riding is a skill that requires concentration and judgement and encourages bikers to take it easy on left-hand bends.
We are leading the way on progressive approaches to improving safety on our road networks and will continue to monitor closely the significant reduction of speed and the road safety improvements that the ambitious A9 average speed camera programme is now delivering.
We are protecting vulnerable road users and pedestrians through investment of over £64m to improve the safety of cyclists on Scotland's roads and we are encouraging Councils to cut speed in Scotland's towns and city streets, particularly near schools and residential areas, through our revised 20mph limit guidance.
The safety of the journey to and from school for children is fundamental and powers are now being devolved to allow legislation to ensure young people are safely buckled-up on their journey to and from school.
I am convinced of the need for us to remain vigilant, in particular where we need to innovate and re-double our efforts on protecting road users. In this Annual Report you will again find a diverse range of material including reports and updates on partners' activity and news on policy development.
Every piece of work is important, as, collectively, they all make the difference in saving lives. I am convinced that, through our sustained focus and our resilient partnership approach, we will realise our vision that pedestrians and all road users continue to "Go Safe on Scotland's Roads" in the years to 2020 and beyond.
Derek MacKay MSP, Minister for Transport and Islands