VIDEO: Road safety campaign launched as deaths on Highland roads exceed 2017 figures

Partner agencies gathered at the Kessock Bridge in Inverness as operation CEDAR was launched last week. Picture by Jason Hedges
Partner agencies gathered at the Kessock Bridge in Inverness as operation CEDAR was launched last week. Picture by Jason Hedges

Police launched a new road safety campaign yesterday as it emerged the number of deaths on Highland roads this year has already surpassed the total figure for 2017.

Eighteen fatalities have occurred in the north so far in 2018, one more than the total recorded for 2017.

Police launched operation CEDAR yesterday in collaboration with partner agencies in a bid to make Highland roads safer. The initiative comes on the back of a successful scheme rolled out in the North East over the past three years.

Chief Inspector Iain MacLelland, said: “Everybody has a role to play in keeping our roads safe.

“Key causation factors for injury collisions on our roads remain excessive speed, drivers who are driving whilst distracted and drink driving.

“Members of the public can all play their role in terms of keeping their speed down. If you are driving your car, switch your mobile phone off – don’t use it.

“If you need to use your mobile phone pull into the side of the road and drink driving goes without saying.

“All of these types of behaviour can have absolutely tragic consequences.”

The operations launch comes after the Press and Journal revealed earlier this month that the North’s busiest roads had a serious crash rate of at least one per week over the course of the past five years.

Almost 300 collisions occurred on the A9 and A82 over the timeframe, with 70 fatalities.

Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of the Highland Road Safety Group, said: “Schemes like this are vitally important. One of the major blocks in this scheme is education and we can’t have enough education. It is extremely important people are brought up to speed with what difficulties they may encounter.

“If we can save one life then it is not a cost. The cost factor is irrelevant if we are able to do that.”

The Highland Council ward of Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh has had the highest number of collisions in 2018, with five fatalities occurring on the area’s roads this year.

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Derek Wilson of the Scottish Fire and Rescue said: “Protecting the public and communities from harm is at the heart of what we do – and any death on our roads is one too many.

“We thoroughly believe prevention is key and that is why we are throwing our full support behind Operation CEDAR.”

Kevin McKechnie, Bear Scotland’s North West road safety manager, said:  “This important initiative will support the ongoing road safety measures carried out on the trunk road network by our teams.”