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

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.

Strategic Partnership Board members

  • Roy Brannen (Chair): Chief Executive, Transport Scotland
  • Donald Carmichael: Director, Transport Policy, Transport Scotland
  • Derek Crichton: Director for Communities, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives
  • Dr Graham Foster: Director, Public Health and Planning, NHS Forth Valley
  • Hugh Gillies: Director, Trunk Roads and Bus Operations, Transport Scotland
  • ACO David McGown: Director, Prevention and Protection, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Robert Nicol: Chief Officer, Development, Economy and Sustainability, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Claire Smith: Head of Transport Accessibility and Road Safety, Transport Scotland
  • ACC Mark Williams: Operational Support, Police Scotland


Minutes prior to 2014 are available via the National Library of Scotland web archive.

Operational Partnership Group members

  • Michael McDonnell (Chair): Director, Road Safety Scotland, Transport Scotland
  • John Alexander: Head of Service, Scottish Borders, Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Sandy Allan: Road Safety Manager in Scotland, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Scotland
  • CS Stewart Carle: Head of Road Policing, Police Scotland
  • Hannah Dickson: National Development Officer, Scottish Community Safety Network
  • Neil Grieg: Director, Policy and Research, IAM Roadsmart
  • Jennifer Hamilton: Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Murray Hannah: Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland
  • Stuart Hay: Director, Living Streets Scotland
  • Stewart Leggett: Head, Network Operations, Trunk Road and Bus Operations, Transport Scotland
  • Keith Irving: Chief Executive, Cycling Scotland
  • Claire Prentice: Marketing and Corporate Communications, Scottish Government
  • GM Stuart Stevens: Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Steve Wykes: Representative for Scotland, Motorcycle Action Group


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.

The Road Safety Framework

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
  People killed People seriously injured Children (aged < 16)
Children (aged < 16)
seriously injured
2015 Milestone
% Reduction
30 43 35 50
2020 Target
% Reduction
40 55 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 Fund

The Road Safety Framework Fund is designed to help ensure the delivery of the commitments in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020, which seeks to steadily reduce the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

Read more about the fund and how to apply.

Road Safety Framework Annual Report

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

The 2017 report was published in June 2018.

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.

Trunk Road Incident Support Service

Transport Scotland provides the Trunk Road Incident Support Service (TRISS) to help deal with incidents on our trunk roads.

TRISS is a patrol service provided by Transport Scotland since 2005 as part of our ITS (Intelligent Transport System) Action Plan.

Six TRISS vehicles pro-actively patrol our motorways and trunk roads, dealing with incidents and supporting the emergency services in clearing incidents. The service operates seven days a week between the morning and evening peaks.

TRISS is provided by Operating Companies as part of their contract with Transport Scotland. Coverage currently includes:

  • M8
  • M73
  • M74
  • A725
  • M80
  • M77
  • A720
  • A1
  • M9
  • M90
  • A92
  • A823(M)
  • A985.

Triss aims to:

  • improve journey time reliability by managing and reducing the impact of disruption caused by incidents on motorways and trunk roads
  • improve safety and security for travellers by early identification and removal of incidents, resulting in a reduction of secondary accidents
  • occasionally help at major sporting events to minimise the impact of event-related congestion.

Typically, this involves making incidents safe by deploying temporary traffic management and clearing hazardous debris from traffic lanes to relieve congestion. Where possible, TRISS will make repairs to damaged parts of our trunk roads and offer assistance to broken down vehicles.

Road works

In the UK, around 2,200 road accidents involving injuries happen in the vicinity of road works every year, some involving those working on the road.

Road workers are there to ensure the roads are properly maintained and improved. Their job is naturally dangerous, working on busy roads during the day and night to improve the roads while keeping them open.

When motorists speed through road works to save a few seconds, they are putting the lives of road workers at risk. Drive with caution, respect road workers and abide by the set speed limit.

Road Workers' Safety Forum

Transport Scotland is a member of the Road Workers' Safety Forum (RoWSaF), a group established in 2001 to promote the health, safety and welfare of road workers.

Members are drawn from UK roads administrations, enforcement agencies, contractors, designers and their associations.


Transport Scotland and the Highways Agency worked together to produce videos, posters and postcard-treatments to highlight the need to respect road workers.

You can watch the videos below or visit the Highways Agency website for access to the other resources.

A9 Safety Plan

The A9 trunk road is the main route that connects central Scotland and the Highlands.

It stretches from Dunblane, situated north of Stirling, and travels north bypassing Perth and Inverness before finishing in Thurso.

The route is made up of single and dual carriageways with varying speed limits.

It carries a broad mix of road users comprising local drivers, commuters, freight transport and tourist traffic.

The A9 Safety Plan is managed by the A9 Safety Group.

This multi-agency group was set up by Transport Scotland in July 2012 to work closely together with partners to reduce road casualties on the route.

The main aim of the A9 Safety Group before and during the A9 dualling programme is to explore measures which could be introduced on the route using engineering, enforcement, education and encouragement to positively influence driver behaviour in a way that helps reduce road casualties. 

Non-prescribed traffic signs

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD) is a regulatory document which details every traffic sign and road marking prescribed for use in the UK. The TSRGD also stipulates the conditions under which each sign may be used.

Non-prescribed signs are used when there is no suitable prescribed sign in the TSRGD. Relevant road authorities can apply to the Scottish Government, who can authorise a specially designed non-prescribed sign.

The following documents contain information on previously authorised non-prescribed signs and the application process:

Email non-prescribed@transport.gov.scot for further information.

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:

Seatbelts on School buses

The Seat Belts on School Transport (Scotland) Act 2017 gained Royal Assent on 19 December.

The purpose of the Act is to improve road safety for school children by imposing a duty upon school authorities to ensure that each motor vehicle which the authority provides or arranges to be provided for a dedicated school transport service has a seat belt fitted to each passenger seat, i.e. one seat belt per pupil.

The Act imposes a duty on Scottish ministers to publish national guidance.

The Seat Belts on School Transport (Scotland) Act 2017 – Guidance gives school authorities and other interested parties technical explanations in relation to seat belt fitting and promotes best practice for seat belt wearing and monitoring.

The Act will come into force on 1 August 2018.


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 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.

Speed Limit Review

The Speed Limit Review recommendations were published in 2012, setting out Transport Scotland’s intention to reduce the speed limit across 44 sections of the trunk road network to improve road safety. Details of the Review, including its purpose, the assessment methodology, the roads reviewed and outcomes reported at that time can be found on the National Web Archive.

Speed management in towns and villages

Pilot 20 MPH Speed Limits


The Scottish Government aims to promote the safe and efficient use of the roads it is responsible for. Where these pass through towns and villages, there are frequently competing pressures between their strategic purpose, and community interests relating to safety and amenity.

The promotion of the pilot 20 mph limits proposed for the trunk road network is intended to support road safety generally, but target safety benefits for vulnerable road users in particular. This is reflected in the selection criteria for the pilot areas.

There have been a number of calls for lower speed limits and specifically 20 mph limits in some towns and villages on the trunk road network. These were included in the wider list of potential candidate sites considered. Sites were also identified for consideration on the basis of the evidence of safety issues that may be addressed by a locally reduced speed limit.

The proposed pilot focuses on the use of 20 mph limits where there is an evidence led criteria, specifically:

  • Personal Injury Accidents particularly those involving vulnerable road users
  • Vehicle speeds – not being significantly above an average of 24 mph
  • Traffic volumes
  • Vehicle composition including the HGV proportion of total traffic volume
  • Road Environment including layout, key buildings and social amenities

The pilot sites should not require significant engineering or Police enforcement to support their operation. There will be many situations across the country where the introduction of a 20 mph limit would require more extensive and expensive engineering to force vehicle speeds to drop.

Typically, more heavily engineered speed reductions are not appropriate for the strategic network, given the use of these for Emergency vehicles, HGVs and other large vehicles and the adverse impacts associated with traffic calming heavily trafficked routes. Any such proposals should be considered separately and as part of our wider approach to speed management.

Pilot Sites

We have engaged with communities and wider stakeholders in taking forward the pilot speed limit proposals by holding public exhibitions within each of the towns and villages. The extents of each of the speed limits can be viewed by clicking the links below and if you have any comments on our proposals then please email strategicroadsafety@transport.gov.scot






Transport Scotland are working with Argyll and Bute Council who also promoted their intention to extend 20 mph zones on their road network in Oban.   

Next Steps
The next stage is to formally promote the orders for the proposed changes through the traffic regulation order statutory process.

What other sites were considered?

A number of sites were considered across Scotland. In addition to the 5 successful sites, consideration was given to sites at: Keith; Nairn; Inveraray; Golspie; Callander; Springholm; Crocketford; Aberlour; and Cromdale.

Why are those sites not being taken forward?

Evidence indicated that the use of 20mph limits in these areas would be ineffective or impractical. Transport Scotland are now considering whether alternative road safety methods can be identified at these sites. These may include additional signing lining or the measures, but, in each case, it will be important to consider what is possible and likely to be effective.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Keith?

The assessment in Keith indicated that the road characteristics, in particular the width of the A96, and current traffic speed do not support the use of a self-enforcing 20 mph limit. Transport Scotland is committed to undertaking a route accident reduction plan (RARP) in 2014 and this will include consideration of issues in Keith.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Nairn?

As is the case with Nairn, the assessment in Nairn indicated that the road characteristics, in particular the width of the A96, and current traffic speed do not support the use of a self-enforcing 20 mph limit. The A96 RARP will also include Nairn.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Inveraray?

The numbers of recorded vulnerable road user accidents was low. As the key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, this low number indicates there is no case for reducing the speed limit.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Golspie?

For the period of the assessment, there were no recorded vulnerable road user accidents. The key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, in this instance, there is no case for reducing the speed limit.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Callander?

The numbers of recorded vulnerable road user accidents was low. The key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, given the low numbers of accidents recorded, there is no case for reducing the speed limit to improve safety.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Springholm?

For the period of the assessment, there were no recorded vulnerable road user accidents. In addition, the nature of the carriageway does not support the use of a self-enforcing 20mph speed limit. The key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, in this instance, there is no case for reducing the speed limit.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Crocketford?

As with Springholm, for the period of the assessment, there were no recorded vulnerable road user accidents. In addition, the nature of the carriageway does not support the use of a self-enforcing 20mph speed limit. The key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, in this instance, there is no case for reducing the speed limit.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Aberlour?

During the assessment period, there were no recorded vulnerable road user accidents in Aberlour. The key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, in this instance, there is no case for reducing the speed limit.

Why are you not implementing a 20mph limit at Cromdale?

For the period of the assessment, there were no recorded vulnerable road user accidents. The key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, in this instance, there is no case for reducing the speed limit.

Is Transport Scotland doing any other work related to 20mph limits?

Transport Scotland are working with SCOTS (The Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland) to develop guidance for local authorities on implementing 20 mph limits and zones on local roads. This guidance will aim to provide greater clarity around what local authorities can and cannot do and set out the circumstances in which an application needs to be made to Scottish Ministers.

Will you be delivering any other 20mph limits on the trunk road network?

There are no current proposals for additional sites at this time. We will monitor the sites where we deliver reduced speed limits and assess their effectiveness before deciding how best to proceed. We will consider how to improve safety and speed compliance in towns and villages and across the Trunk Road generally, through the actions stemming from our road safety plan.

What else are you doing to manage speed in towns and villages?

We are working with communities across Scotland in terms of the specific issues that exist in their area. We are also updating our road safety plan, which will include consideration of how best to manage speed appropriately across the diverse range of conditions we meet on our roads.  It will be updated during the course of 2014.