Three people are seriously hurt or killed every week on Tayside’s roads, the Tele can reveal today.
A new report from police has unveiled the soaring number of casualties on routes across the region.
A total of 23 people were killed in road accidents in the area in 2017-18 – a jump of nearly a third from 16 the year before. The number of people seriously injured or killed went from 132 to 165, a rise of 25%.
However, fewer driving offences were reported by police officers in Tayside Division over the year – dropping from 13,566 to 13,694.
And despite casualty numbers climbing in Tayside as a whole, there were fewer injuries on roads in Dundee compared with 2016-17.
Councillor Brian Gordon, chairman of Tactran, the regional transport partnership for Tayside, welcomed the drop in Dundee but said the region must “still strive for improvement”.
He said: “We’ve got to try to improve the safety as well as people’s habits on the road.
“Even though the figures are showing a drop in some areas we’ve still got to strive for improvement.
“There have been a lot of tragedies on the roads and we still hear about young kids getting knocked down, so road safety affects people deeply.”
Although driving offences dropped, more people were charged with dangerous driving – 299 compared to 263 the previous year – with 463 careless drivers reported, up from 401. But there was a sizeable reduction in the number of mobile phone offences recorded – dropping to 198 from 464. A fall was also recorded for seatbelt offences, which dropped from 181 to 120.
Speeding offences increased to 4,407 from 4,263 with police recording a 100% detection rate.
A spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: “Any reduction in road casualties is positive and so we welcome the slight decrease in those killed or seriously injured in Dundee over the last year.
“However, this is just a slight improvement. In Tayside someone is killed or seriously injured on the roads every week and that is unacceptable. Positive progress in the reduction of phone use behind the wheel indicates another welcome trend, however, dangerous driving and speeding offences remain stubbornly high.
“All road injuries are tragic and preventable and we need a more concerted effort from a national policy level, as well as an increase in roads policing, to make our roads safe.”
Several road safety initiatives have been rolled out across Tayside in recent years in a bid to cut accidents, including reduced speed limits on the Kingsway and average speed cameras on the A90 and the A9.
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said it would be premature to say that Tayside’s roads are getting safer.
He said: “We welcome the decline in casualties in Dundee although note that Tayside has seen a rise 2016-17 compared with 2017-18. It is premature to say the roads are becoming safer in Dundee based on a one-year comparison and the relatively small numbers involved.
“A better comparison would be over the space of three to five years.
“Fewer offences detected could be related to an improvement in driver behaviour, or could be due to less police enforcement. Without looking at the causes of the change in figures, it’s hard to say definitively.”
People power can make a difference
Dundee’s casualty rate dropped from 164 to 132 between 2017-18 and 2016-17.
However, the number of driving offences recorded by police in the city increased from 5,384 to 5,434, with a slight decrease in the detection rate – the number of people caught or reported for the offences.
Police also caught 44 people not wearing their seatbelt compared with 70 the previous year, while 55 were reported for using their mobile, compared to 150 the previous 12 months.
A slight drop was reported for dangerous driving offences in Dundee, from 94 to 91, and more speeding crimes were recorded – jumping from 873 to 990.
Fewer offences for drivers neglecting traffic directions were recorded with 163 for 2017-18 as opposed to 168 the previous year.
Mr Gordon believes “people power” can make a major difference in the city.
He said: “We can never be complacent when it comes to road safety in Dundee and Tayside.
“The drop in the number of casualties is encouraging so we have to keep up the standards.
“I think a lot of the success comes down to communities coming together to raise concerns about issues in their area.
“We’ve seen that with the residents in Emmock Woods who campaigned and although it was a very short campaign, they’re getting a different type of roundabout to reduce the speed.
“So I would certainly encourage people to come together and identify where these problems are because people power can make a difference.
“It’s positive to see reductions in certain areas but we still have a lot of work to do.”