Serious road accidents halved in Argyll during pandemic

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Road accidents in Argyll & Bute halved in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to the latest government figures.

The Reported Road Casualties publication released by Transport Scotland statisticians provides finalised figures for the number of people injured or killed as a result of road accidents.

The number of fatal and serious casualties on all of Argyll & Bute’s roads fell from 83 in 2019 down to 37 in 2020, while all severities of injuries also dropped from 211 to 120 in the same period.

However the number of fatalities only reduced slightly, from nine in 2019 down to seven in 2020. 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.

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

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.

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

‘In February, the Scottish Government published a new road safety framework running until 2030,’ Transport Scotland said. ‘The previous road safety framework ran until 2020 and contained five national casualty reduction targets for 2020. All five 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.’

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 per cent between 2009 and 2019: from 530 accidents to 230.