The head of road policing Scotland has issued an impassioned plea for drivers to remain safe this winter following a year of fatal tragedies on the country’s roads.
After a record low of 146 road deaths in the whole of 2017, there has already been 108 road fatalities in Scotland since April.
And now as roads get icier and inclement weather threatens to raise that number even further, motorists have been warned to stay safe and avoid becoming another statistic.
The north-east of Scotland has had a number of particularly tragic incidents this year, including a smash on the A96 in July that resulted in the deaths of five people, including four-year-old Lorenzo Ciociola who was on holiday with his family from Italy.
Police Scotland’s head of road policing Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle said: “Since April, 108 people have lost their lives – 27 people, including a young boy, in July alone.
“Each death is a tragedy leaving families and friends bereaved, often with life-changing consequences for those who survive but are caught up in the aftermath.
“Despite running a number of campaigns, including those aimed at vulnerable road users such as cyclists and horse riders, the number of deaths so far this year is around 20% higher than at this time last year.
“We have also seen an increase in the number of motorcycle deaths rise to 27 riders and three pillion passengers.
“Very few of the fatalities have been due to rider gross error or reckless riding, and many of the fatalities and injuries sustained by motorcyclists have been due to motorists failing to look properly at junctions or when overtaking.”
Chief Superintendent Carle said the colder weather and other environmental factors drivers face in the winter time can prove to be especially hazardous.
He added: “As we head from autumn into winter, all road users must look out for each other and drivers should be prepared to slow down when encountering low winter sunshine, which is a causation factor for many shunt collisions during morning commute time.
“It is particularly important for motorists to take care not to collide with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, who are most vulnerable.
“Go safe – it’s everyone’s responsibility to respect each other’s right to use Scotland’s roads, and by doing so you are protecting not only yourself but others around you.”