A pensioner has died after a head-on smash on a rural Aberdeenshire road near Turriff.
The 77-year-old man was killed yesterday morning when he lost control of his blue Renault Clio and careered into the path of an oncoming van.
It was the second fatal accident in Aberdeenshire in under 24 hours. A 41-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were killed in a crash on the A980 Banchory to Torphins road near Glassel the previous evening.
The accident happened just before 11am on the B9105 Turriff to Fintray road.
The route, about four miles from Turriff, was closed for several hours while forensic officers and crash investigation teams tried to piece together what had happened.
Police said the victim’s family, who are from the Turriff area, had been informed.
The pensioner had been travelling towards his home town when the crash happened at a sharp bend in the road.
The 28-year-old male driver of the red Mercedes Sprinter van, who had been heading in the direction of Fraserburgh, escaped injury.
The crash took place as Aberdeenshire councillors met to discuss the latest strategy to improve safety on the nearby A947 Aberdeen-Banff road.
The local authority agreed to launch the second part of a long-standing action plan aimed at reducing the high number of serious accidents along the 38-mile route, a notorious accident blackspot.
Speaking at the scene of yesterday’s crash, Inspector Ewan Innes of the police’s roads department, said: “It’s difficult at this stage to say what happened.
“Somehow, the Clio has ended up on the wrong side of the road and it has been involved in a collision with the van.
“We do have an independent witness to this accident and we will be taking a statement from them in due course.”
He said the road would have been wet at the time of the crash, adding: “We are appealing for anyone who saw this, or who has any information that could help our enquiries, to get in touch.”
While officers were investigating the incident, efforts to improve the A947 – one of Scotland’s – deadliest roads continued as Aberdeenshire Councillors agreed a long-term strategy.
New figures show the rate of fatal accidents on the Aberdeen to Banff route is close to 50% higher than the national average.
The 38-mile-long stretch of carriageway which winds its way through the villages of Turriff, Fyvie and Oldmeldrum has been the scene of 16 fatal smashes in the last seven years.
Now members of the local authority’s infrastructure services committee have agreed to draw up a long-term plan for how the road can be made safer.
Studies have shown most accidents were the result of wet surfaces and excessive speed but many safety campaigners believe frustration is the greatest danger.
Several accidents have been caused when frustrated drivers found themselves stuck behind articulated lorries or farm vehicles, with no room to overtake.
However the idea of passing places, to encourage truck and tractor drivers to pull off the road to allow others past, has not proved popular.
Banff and District SNP councillor John Coxhas spent more than 20 years campaigning for a safer A947.
He said: “I move along that route all the time and rarely do I see vehicles using passing places.
“Heavy vehicles move in convoys and they aren’t going to stop at single passing places. The road needs passing lanes and route improvements at accident blackspots.”
Councillor Cox, who sits on the infrastructure services committee, added: “At the end of the day a strategic report doesn’t change the road – that needs funding and investment.”