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Road Accidents Scotland 2004

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Commentary

Figure 1 Accidents by severity, 1966 to 2004

Figure 1 Accidents by severity, 1966 to 2004

Commentary

1. Trends in the numbers of Road Accidents and Casualties

1.1 Main Points

Table 1 provides figures for the population of Scotland, the numbers of vehicles licensed, the total road length in Scotland, the volumes of traffic on major roads (motorways and A roads) and on all roads, the numbers of injury road accidents, the numbers of vehicles involved and the numbers of casualties. The numbers of injury road accidents were first recorded separately in 1966, while the numbers of casualties are available back to 1938. Information on the severities of the accidents, and of the injuries suffered by the casualties, is provided in Table 2. Figure 1 shows the trends since 1966 in the numbers of injury road accidents, and Figures 2 to 4 show the trends since 1950 for the numbers of casualties.

The numbers of injury road accidents have fallen in most of the past ten years. In 2004, there were 281 fatal accidents, 17 (6%) less than in 2003, the second lowest number since the current records began in 1970. The number of serious injury accidents in 2004 (2,313) fell by 180 (7%) to the lowest number since the records of serious accidents began in 1970. The number of "slight injury" accidents (11,261) in 2004 was 150 (1%) more than in the previous year. However, it was still the second lowest number since current records began in 1970.

The number of people killed in road accidents in Scotland in 2004 was 306, 25 (8%) less than in 2003. The 2004 figure was the second lowest for more than 50 years.

There were 2,742 people recorded as seriously injured in road accidents in 2004, 209 (7%) fewer than in 2003. This was the lowest number since records of the numbers of serious injuries began in 1950.

In 2004, 15,357 people were recorded as slightly injured. This is the lowest figure recorded since 1955, and was 93 (1%) fewer than in 2003.

The total number of casualties in 2004 was 18,405. This was 327 (2%) less than in 2003, and was the lowest figure for over 50 years.

The reductions in the numbers of accidents and casualties in recent years are even more significant given that (for example) in 2004 the number of vehicles licensed in Scotland was more than a quarter higher than in 1994 and that traffic on Scottish roads was estimated to have grown by about a fifth since 1994.

1.2 Accidents

In 1966 there were just over 23,200 injury road accidents and the annual total remained around this level until 1973. Numbers then dropped considerably in 1974 and 1975 to about 20,600. This was the time of a fuel crisis when a national speed limit of 50 mph was introduced and the volume of traffic in Great Britain fell by 3% in 1974. Accident numbers increased again in 1976 and reached a peak of nearly 23,100 in 1979.

In the early 1980s numbers began to fall, and did so particularly sharply in 1983 when the total number of injury accidents fell by 7% in a single year to 19,400, serious accidents fell by 13% to just over 6,400, and fatal accidents fell by 11% to 568. The year 1983 was when the 1981 Transport Act came into force and changed the law relating to drink driving, with the introduction of evidential breath testing. Compulsory front seat belt wearing and new procedures for licensing learner motor cyclists were also introduced in 1983. After 1983 the total number of injury accidents increased again to over 20,600 in 1985, and the number of serious accidents rose to just over 6,500 while fatal accidents continued to fall.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

By 1987 the total number of injury accidents had fallen to under 18,700, but in 1989 it was up again to just over 20,600. 1989 was the most recent peak in the total number of injury accidents. Since 1989, the total number of injury accidents has fallen in 13 out of 15 years, and in 2004 it was at the lowest level ever recorded. The 2004 figure of 13,855 was 47 less than in 2003.

Since the late 1980s, the number of fatal accidents has fallen considerably from ( e.g.) 517 in 1987 to 281 in 2004. For serious accidents, the trend has also been downwards. The number of serious accidents has fallen from (for example) 5,814 in 1989 to 2,313 in 2004, the lowest number ever recorded. The numbers of slight accidents have not changed as much over the years: while sometimes rising and sometimes falling, they remained between 12,000 and 15,000 throughout the period from 1970 to 1998. The most recent "peak" level was 14,443 in 1990. However, they fell below 12,000 in 1999, and the 2004 figure of 11,261 was the second lowest since slight accident numbers were first recorded in 1970.

1.3 Casualties

As the numbers of accidents have fallen, so have the numbers of casualties. Therefore, this section does not repeat the previous section's detailed analysis of how the numbers have changed.

Numbers killed

The number of people killed in road accidents in Scotland in 2004 was 306, a decrease of 8% over 2003. This was the second lowest figure for more than 50 years. With a few exceptions, there has been a fall in each year since 1978, and for most of that period the figures show a clear, steady long-term downward trend, particularly between 1982 and 1994. Since then, the numbers appear to have been fluctuating around a less pronounced downwards trend. The number in 2004 was 6% below the average for the previous five years (324).

Numbers seriously injured

There were 2,742 people recorded as seriously injured in road accidents in 2004: 209 (7%) fewer than in 2003. The 2004 figure is the lowest number since the current records of the numbers of serious injuries began in 1950. The long term trend shows that the number of serious casualties peaked in the early 1970's at around 10,000 and has generally been falling since the early 1980's. However, there has been some fluctuation around the long-term downwards trend, and there appeared to be a levelling-off when the figures for 1996, 1997 and 1998 were all around 4,050. But the downward trend subsequently resumed: the number of people seriously injured in 2004 was well below that level.

Numbers slightly injured

There were 15,357 people recorded as slightly injured in 2004: 93 (1%) fewer than in 2003, and the lowest number since 1955. Between 1970 and 1990, the figures fluctuated in a range which was broadly 17,000 to 21,000. The fall between 1990 and 1995 in the number of people with slight injuries, followed by an apparent levelling-off at around 17-18,000 in each of the years from 1996 to 1999, could have been a continuation of that pattern. However, the figures for 2000 to 2004 were all below the bottom of that range, with falls each year, suggesting a continuing downward trend.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Total numbers of casualties

The total number of casualties (of all severities) in 2004 was 18,405, 327 (2%) fewer than in 2003. This represented the lowest number of casualties since 1953. Between about 1970 and 1990, the figures appeared to fluctuate greatly about a general downward trend. Subsequently, the total number of casualties fell markedly from the level of the most recent "short-term" peak (which was over 27,000 in both 1989 and 1990), before appearing to level off: the figures for each of the years from 1993 to 1998 were all within about 600 (3%) of the average of around 22,330 for those six years. However, as the totals for 1999 to 2004 were all under 21,100, with falls each year, it appears that the downward trend has resumed.

Government targets for reductions in the numbers of road accident casualties.

In 1987 the Government adopted a target to reduce road casualties by one third from the 1981-85 annual average by the year 2000. The number of people killed on the roads in Scotland in 2000 was 49% below the 1981-85 average number of fatalities per year, and therefore the target of a one-third reduction by the year 2000 was exceeded for fatalities. For seriously injured casualties, the 2000 figure was 57% below the 1981-85 average, so the target was bettered for seriously injured casualties. However, the figure of 16,618 slight casualties in 2000 was only 9% below the 1981-85 average and so the target of a one-third reduction was not achieved for slight casualties. And, the total number of casualties (of all severities) in 2000 was 24% below the 1981-85 average, and therefore the target of a one-third reduction in the total number of casualties was not met.

In March 2000, the UK Government, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales announced a new national road safety strategy and casualty reduction targets for 2010. A separate section on the casualty reduction targets for 2010 (which appears after this Commentary) provides statistics related to these targets, plus a selection of key points. It contains charts and tables for each of the three targets showing the main trends in casualty numbers in comparison to the 1994-98 baseline averages, and to the numbers that might be expected in each year if the targets were to be achieved by means of a constant percentage reduction in each year.

2. Accidents

2.1 Accidents by road type and severity(see Table 4)

Table 4 shows separate figures for trunk roads and for local authority roads. Trunk roads accounted for only small proportions of the total numbers of accidents in 2004: 30% of fatal accidents, 20% of the total of fatal and serious accidents, and 16% of all accidents. The trunk road network's shares of accident numbers in previous years were broadly similar.

When looking at changes over time in the numbers of accidents by type of road, one must remember that the changes for different types of road will be affected by the transfer of traffic away from some roads by the opening of city and town bypasses, and by the construction of new roads with higher average traffic volumes. Therefore, such figures do not provide an accurate measure of the comparative change in the road safety performance of different types of road.

Several changes were made to the trunk road network with effect from 1st April 1996. Annex E refers to them, and explains why the 1994-98 averages for trunk roads and for local authority major roads have been calculated by counting accidents which occurred prior to 1st April 1996 on the basis of whether they occurred on roads which were part of the "post- 1 April 1996" trunk road network.

2.2 Accident rates(see Table 5)

Accident rates showing the number of accidents per 100 million vehicle kilometres are contained in parts (b) and (c) of table 5. These are calculated by dividing the numbers of accidents on each type of road by the estimated volumes of traffic on those roads, which were provided by the Department for Transport, and which are available for all types of road with effect from 1993. The "five year average" accident rates were calculated by dividing the total number of accidents which occurred in each five year period by the total of the estimated volumes of traffic for the same period, rather than by calculating the averages of the individual accident rates for the five years.

Accident rates have fallen markedly since the early 1990s. The overall fatal accident rate has dropped from 0.89 per 100 million vehicle kilometres in 1994 to 0.66 in 2004; the "fatal and serious" accident rate fell from 12.90 to 6.08; and the overall accident rate (all severities) reduced from 46.58 per 100 million vehicle kilometres to 32.45. Motorways had consistently lower accident rates than A roads. Leaving aside the relatively low rate for fatal accidents, minor roads (taken together as a group) tend to have higher accident rates than major roads, and accident rates tend to be higher for "built-up" roads (roads with speed limits of up to 40mph) than for "non built-up" roads (ones with higher speed limits).

Part (c) of the table shows that estimated accident rates vary considerably by police force area. Some of this variation may be attributed to the distribution of traffic by road type within individual areas.

2.3 Accidents by month by road type ( see Table 6)

The numbers of injury accidents over the years 2000-2004 were fairly evenly spread throughout the year, with minor peaks in August and November, which were 10% and 11% above the average monthly number of accidents respectively. Fatal and serious accidents (taken together) were similarly well spread across the months, and their minor peak, which occurred in August, was 12% above the monthly average. (To allow more equitable comparisons the months are standardised to 30 days.)

On average, there were 24 fatal accidents per month in the years 2000 to 2004. The number did not vary greatly between the months: the lowest average was 19, and the highest was 32.

2.4 Accidents by light condition and road surface condition(see Table 7)

The severity of accidents is associated with the light and road surface conditions, and also with whether the accident occurs on a built-up road or on a non built-up road. Perhaps because of the higher average speeds on non built-up roads, severity rates are higher on non built-up roads than on built-up roads. And, perhaps because of poorer visibility, severity rates are higher in darkness than in daylight. For example, taking the annual averages for 2000-2004, 4.9% of injury road accidents on non built-up roads in darkness (75 out of 1,519) resulted in one (or more) deaths compared with 1.5% of accidents on built-up roads in darkness (38 out of 2,591) and 3.5% of accidents on non built-up roads in daylight (131 out of 3,714). Similarly, the percentage of accidents classified as either fatal or serious is higher for non built-up roads in darkness than for either built-up roads in darkness or non built-up roads in daylight.

Severity rates did not appear to be higher when the road surface condition was wet, damp or flooded, or affected by snow, frost or ice. For example, taking the annual averages for 2000 to 2004, the percentage of accidents on non built-up roads classified as fatal or serious when the road surface condition was dry was 29.5% (691 out of 2,346) compared with 24.9% (612 out of 2,458) when the surface was wet and 21.2% (82 out of 387) when it was affected by snow, frost or ice.

3. Motorists, breath testing and drink-driving

3.1 Car driver accident rates(see Table 18)

All car drivers involved in injury accidents are included in this table, whether they were injured or not, on the basis of whatever information is known about their ages and their sex. For example, someone whose sex was known, but whose age was not known, will be included in the "all ages" total for the appropriate sex. The grand total includes those for whom neither the age nor the sex was known.

As the car driver accident rates that are shown for each sex and age group are on a "per head of population" basis, rather than being based upon the numbers of driving licence holders or upon the distance driven, they can provide only a general indication of the relative accident rates for each group. The statistics do not provide a measure of the relative risk of each group as car drivers, because they do not take account of the differing levels of car driving by each group.

Car driver accident rates per head of population vary markedly by age and sex. In 2004, the overall rate was 4.2 per thousand population aged 17+. The peak occurs for males in the 17-22 age group, with a rate of 9.6 per thousand population in 2004. This rate is more than double that for females of the same age (4.7 per thousand in 2004), and is about 75% higher than the rate for males aged 30-59 (5.5 per thousand in 2004).

The overall male car driver accident rate in 2004 (5.5 per thousand) was less than in the previous year, and this was the case for each group apart from the 23-29 age group, for whom the rate was slightly higher. The overall female car driver accident rate in 2004 (2.9 per thousand) was the same as the previous year. There were very little differences in the other age groups apart from those aged 17 to 22 which rose from 4.3 to 4.7 per thousand.

Between 1994 and 2004, the male car driver accident rate fell from 7.0 to 5.5 per thousand population, whereas the female car driver accident rate remained around 3.0 per thousand population (with some year-to-year fluctuations). As a result, the overall, ratio of male to female car driver accident rates has fallen from 2.4 : 1 for 1994 to 1.9 : 1 in 2004.

3.2 Breath testing of drivers(see Tables 19, 20 and 21)

These tables cover all motorists who were known to be involved in injury road accidents (the figures do not include, for example, those involved in "hit and run" accidents who were not traced). For these tables, a motorist is defined as the driver or the rider of a motor vehicle, including ( e.g.) a motorcyclist.

In 2004, 60% of motorists involved in injury accidents were asked for a breath test (the percentage varied among the police forces, from about 43% to around 84%). The breath test proved positive (or the motorist refused to take the test) for 3.5% of those drivers breathalysed. This represented 2.1% of the total number of motorists involved (including those who were not asked for a breath test). These percentages have not changed much in the past five years.

Tables 20 and 21 show the figures for each time of day on different days of the week (Table 20 gives the averages for 2000 to 2004), and for a number of years (Table 21). In 2004, 44% of the "positive / refused" cases occurred between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.: 102 between 9 p.m. and midnight, plus 106 between midnight and 3 a.m., out of a total of 478. Using 2000 to 2004 averages, the number of "positive / refused" cases, expressed as a percentage of motorists involved in accidents, was highest (at 15 - 17%) between midnight and 6 a.m., but varied depending upon the day of the week, from 9.5% (the average for 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. for Mondays to Thursdays) to 22.5% (3 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Sundays),. Table 20 shows that although the period from 9 p.m. to midnight had the second highest number of "positive / refused" cases, the equivalent percentages were not as high, because between 9 p.m. and midnight there were many more motorists involved in accidents than between midnight and 3 a.m.

3.3 Drink-drive accidents and casualties ( see Table 22)

Table 22 shows the estimates (made by the Department for Transport) of the numbers of injury road accidents involving illegal alcohol levels. They are higher than the number of drivers with positive breath test results (or who refused to take the breath test) because they include allowances for the numbers of cases where drivers were not breath tested because of the severity of their injuries, or because they left the scene of the accident. Information about the blood alcohol levels of road users who died within 12 hours of being injured in a road accident is supplied by the Procurators Fiscal.

The estimates show that the numbers of drink-drive accidents fell by 11% and the number of casualties by 12% between 1993 and 2003 (the latest year for which estimates are available): from about 840 to roughly 750 (accidents) and from around 1,280 to some 1,130 (casualties). While fluctuating from year to year, the number of people killed as a result of drink-drive accidents is estimated to have fallen slightly, from about 60 in 1993 to around 50 in 2003. The number of serious casualties is estimated to have dropped by around a fifth (from roughly 280 in 1993 to some 230 in 2003).

4. Casualties

4.1 Casualties by type of road (see Table 23)

In 2004, "non built-up" roads accounted for two-fifths of the total number of casualties (43%: 7,835 out of 18,405). However, perhaps because average speeds are higher on non built-up roads than elsewhere, they accounted for over two thirds of those killed (69%: 211 out of 306) and for over half of the total number of killed and seriously injured combined (54%: 1,659 out of 3,048).

Compared with 1994, the fall in the total number of casualties has been greater for built-up roads (24%) than elsewhere (9%). There is little difference between the two types of road for the numbers killed (down by 14% for built-up roads compared with 16% elsewhere). However, over the years, some traffic will have been transferred away from built-up roads by the opening of city and town bypasses, and by the construction of non built-up roads with higher average traffic volumes. Therefore, these figures do not provide an accurate measure of the comparative change in the road safety performance of "built-up" and "non built-up" roads.

4.2 Casualties by mode of transport(see Table 23)

A total of 11,549 car users were injured in road accidents in 2004, representing 63% of all casualties. Of these car users, 167 died. There were 3,063 pedestrian casualties (17% of the total), of whom 75 died, 773 pedal cycle casualties (4% of the total), of whom 7 died, and 986 motorcycle casualties (5% of the total), of whom 41 died. Because of the numbers of car user, pedestrian, pedal cyclist and motorcyclist casualties, the figures for each of these four groups of road users are the subject of separate sections, which follow this one, and are followed by a section on child casualties, which gives details of their modes of transport.

Together, all the modes of transport other than the four mentioned above accounted for 2,034 casualties in 2004 (11% of the total), and for smaller percentages of the numbers of killed and seriously injured. These included 911 bus and coach users injured in 2004, of who 65 suffered serious injuries (3 died) - these low proportions presumably being due to the greater protection of their passengers by buses and coaches. There were also 404 casualties who were travelling in light goods vehicles, 248 people in heavy goods vehicles, 240 users of taxis, 80 users of minibuses and 151 people with another means of transport.

4.3 Car user casualties

A total of 11,549 car users were injured in road accidents in 2004, representing 63% of all casualties. Of these people, a total of 1,569 were either killed or seriously injured, 167 of who died. Non built-up roads accounted for a little over half of all car user casualties (55%: 6,405 out of 11,549). Perhaps because average speeds are higher on non-built up roads, they accounted for much higher percentages of the total numbers of car users who were killed (83%: 139 out of 167) or were killed or seriously injured (76%: 1,193 out of 1,569). (see Table 23)

The number of car users killed in 2004 was 9% less than the 2003 figure, the number who were killed or seriously injured fell by 7% and the total number of casualties of all severities was down by 2%. Since 1994, the number killed has dropped by 15%, and there have been falls of 44% in the number who were killed or seriously injured and of 11% in the total number of car user casualties. (see Table 23)

Looking at annual averages over the years 2000-2004, the killed and seriously injured casualty rate for 16-22 year old car users was 0.95 per thousand population. This was much higher than the rate for car users in the older age groups, which varied from 0.25 to 0.58 per thousand population. (see Table 32)

On average, over the years 2000-2004, 70% of car user fatalities occurred on roads with a speed limit of 60mph. Such roads accounted for 62% of those car users who were killed or seriously injured, but for only 42% of the total number of car user casualties (of all severities). (see Table 33)

Adult car users

On weekdays, the peak time for adult car user casualties was from 4pm to 6pm. The 5pm to 6pm average of 714 (the annual average for the years 2000-2004) was 25% higher than the average of 572 in the morning 8am to 9am peak. (see Table 28)

Adult car user casualties varied by month, with fewer per month in the period between March and July (inclusive) and more between October and December. The peak month was November, which had 38% more adult car user casualties than the lowest month, March (annual averages over the years 2000-2004; months standardised to 30 days). (see Table 29)

Friday had the peak numbers of adult car user casualties over the years 2000-2004 with 15% more than the average daily number of adult car user casualties. (see Table 30)

4.4 Pedestrian casualties

There were 3,063 pedestrian casualties in 2004: 17% of all casualties. Of these, 746 were killed or seriously injured (75 died). Presumably because of the greater vulnerability of pedestrians, a high proportion (24%) of the total number of people who were killed or seriously injured were pedestrians In addition, 24% of pedestrian casualties were killed or seriously injured (746 out of 3,063) compared with 17% of all casualties (3,048 out of 18,405). About 95% of pedestrian casualties occurred on built-up roads (2,907 out of 3,063). Perhaps because of higher average speeds on non built-up roads, 53% of the pedestrian casualties on such roads were killed or seriously injured (83 out of 156) compared with 23% on built-up roads (663 out of 2,907). (see Table 23)

The number of pedestrians killed and seriously injured and the overall number of pedestrian casualties in 2004 were 3% less and 3% more respectively than in 2003. Since 1994, the number of pedestrians killed has fallen by 32%, the number who were killed or seriously injured has dropped by 55%, and there has been a 35% reduction in the total number of pedestrian casualties. Looking at the annual average for the period 2000 to 2004, the pedestrian fatality rate was higher for those aged 70+ (0.04 per thousand population) than for any other age-group. However, the 12-15 age-group had the highest 'killed and serious' and 'all severities' pedestrian casualty rates (0.47 and 1.95 per thousand population, respectively). The corresponding casualty rates for the 5-11 age-group were only slightly lower. (see Tables 23 & 32)

The overall pedestrian 'all severities' casualty rate for males was 0.82 per thousand population, compared with 0.49 per thousand for females, using the averages for the period 2000 to 2004. (see Table 34)

Adult pedestrian casualties

On average, in the period 2000 to 2004, on weekdays, the peak time for adult pedestrian casualties was from 4pm to 6pm; at weekends it was from midnight to 2am. (see Table 28)

December was the peak month for adult pedestrian casualties, with 32% more than the monthly average. Adult pedestrian casualties in the four "winter" months, November to February, were 20% more than the monthly average (annual averages over the years 2000-2004; months standardised to 30 days). (see Table 29)

Friday has the highest number of adult pedestrian casualties; 20% more than the daily average over the period 2000 to 2004. (see Table 30)

4.5 Pedal Cycle Casualties

There were 773 pedal cycle casualties in 2004, 4% less than the previous year. The combined total of killed and seriously injured pedal cycle casualties in 2004 was 127, 9% less than in 2003. There were 7 pedal cycle fatalities in 2004, 7 less than in 2003. Since 1994 there has been a 44% reduction in all pedal cycle casualties, the number who were killed or seriously injured has fallen by 60%, and the number of fatalities has fluctuated between 5 and 15. In 2004, 90% of pedal cycle casualties were on built-up roads. (see Table 23)

In terms of the averages for the period 2000 to 2004, the pedal cycle casualty rate per head of population was highest for those aged 12-15 (0.46 per thousand population). The other age groups with above-average casualty rates were: 5-11, 16-22, 23-29 and 30-39. Of course, it must be remembered that, as noted earlier, "per capita" casualty rates do not provide a measure of the relative risk, because they do not take account of the levels of usage of (in this case) pedal cycles. (see Table 32)

Adult pedal cycle casualties

Using the averages for the period 2000 to 2004, on weekdays, the peak numbers of adult pedal cycle casualties were from 4pm to 6pm and from 7 am to 9 am. At weekends the numbers were smaller, and there was no clear peak. (see Table 28)

The peak month of the year for adult pedal cycle casualties was August, which was 32% more than the monthly average (2000-2004 annual averages standardised to 30 days). (see Table 29)

The day of the week with the peak numbers of adult pedal cycle casualties was Wednesday, 26% higher than the daily average, over the years 2000-2004. There were substantially fewer adult pedal cycle casualties on Saturday and Sunday, with 47% and 36% less than the daily average respectively. (see Table 30)

4.6 Motorcyclist casualties

A total of 986 motorcyclists were injured in road accidents in 2004, representing 5% of all casualties. Of these, 389 were either killed or seriously injured, of who 41 died. Under half of all motorcyclist casualties occurred on non built-up roads but (perhaps because of their higher average speeds) such roads accounted for about three-fifths of those killed or seriously injured, and over four fifths of those killed. (see Table 23)

The number of motorcyclist casualties in 2004 was 11% less than in the previous year. The number killed fell by 9 and the total who were killed or seriously injured fell by 7%. Over the period since 1994, the total number of motorcyclist casualties at first fell (from 930 in 1994 to 850 in 1996) before rising in each of the next five years. The figure for all casualties in 2004 was 6% higher than in 1994. 17 more motorcyclists died in 2004 than in 1994. (see Table 23)

On average, over the years 2000 to 2004, the motorcyclist casualty rate was highest for both the 16-22 and 30-39 year old age group (0.49 per thousand population), closely followed by the 23-29 age group (0.41 per thousand population). The 40-49 age group rate was 0.29 per thousand population; other age-groups had much smaller casualty rates. (see Table 32)

Looking at the averages for the period 2000 to 2004, the peak time of day for motorcyclist casualties was 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays (see Table 28), the peak month of the year was August, with relatively high numbers in the other months from May to September (see Table 29) and there were more casualties on Sundays than on any of the other days (see Table 30).

4.7 Child casualties

There were 2,389 child casualties in 2004, representing 13% of the total number of casualties of all ages. Of the child casualties, 383 were killed or seriously injured, of whom 12 died (see Table 24).

The number of child fatalities in 2004 was 5 less than in 2003 and there were falls of 11% and 4% respectively in the number of children killed or seriously injured and in the total number of child casualties. Since 2000, the number of children killed has fallen by 9, there has been a reduction of 32% in child killed and seriously injured casualties, and a 20% fall in the total number of child casualties. (see Table 25)

In terms of the averages for the period 2000 to 2004, on weekdays, the peak time for child casualties was from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with 32% of all weekday casualties in those two hours. A further 28% occurred in the three hours between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. There was a smaller peak in the morning, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. There was no real clear peak at weekends: the numbers of casualties were very broadly the same each hour from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (see Table 27)

August was the peak month for child casualties, with 25% more than in an average month. September had 12% more than an average month. (2000-2004 annual averages standardised to 30 days). (see Table 29)

Using the averages for 2000 to 2004, Friday was the peak day of the week for child casualties, with 19% more than an average day. Sunday, on the other hand, had 21% less than an average day. (see Table 30)

Child casualties by mode of transport

In 2004, there were 1,176 child pedestrian casualties. They accounted for 38% of all pedestrian casualties of all ages (1,176 out of 3,063). Of the child pedestrian casualties, 246 were killed or seriously injured (8 died). (see Table 24)

There were 263 child pedal cycle casualties in 2004 (34% of the total of 773 pedal cycle casualties of all ages). The child pedal cycle casualties included 40 who were seriously injured, none of whom died. (see Table 24)

In 2004, there were 803 child casualties in cars, 7% of the total number of car user casualties of all ages (803 out of 11,549). Of the child casualties in cars, 77 were killed or seriously injured (3 died). (see Table 25)

Child casualty rates (per head of population)

Children's casualty rates (per head of population) increase with age: for children aged 0-4 the rate was 1.33 per thousand population, whereas it was 3.09 per thousand, using the averages for the years 2000-2004 taken together, for those aged 5-11 and for the 12-15 age group it was 3.97 per thousand. The pedestrian casualty rate for younger children (0-4 years) was less than a third of those for 5-11 and 12-15 year olds. (see Table 32)

The pedestrian casualty rate for boys in the 5-11 age group was almost twice that for girls. The difference between the sexes was even more pronounced in the case of the "driver or rider" casualty rates, particularly for the 12-15 age group. (see Table 34)

The overall child pedestrian casualty rates between for killed and seriously injured and for all severities, at 0.33 and 1.39 per thousand child population respectively, were roughly double the corresponding rates for pedestrian casualties of all ages. (see Table 32)

5. Comparisons of Scottish figures against those of other countries

5.1 Casualty rates: against England & Wales ( see Tables A to D on the pages which follow)

Historically, the "killed" and "killed and seriously injured" casualty rates per head of population in Scotland have been above those for England & Wales, whereas the "all severities" casualty rate has been lower in Scotland than in England & Wales. In 2004, Scotland's casualty rates were 10% higher (killed), 2% higher (killed and serious) and 27% lower (all severities). In all three cases, this represented an improvement in the position in Scotland relative to that in England & Wales (compared with the 1994-98 average).

For years, the Scottish child casualty rates per head of population have been higher than those of England & Wales for "killed and seriously injured" and slightly lower for "all severities". In 2004, the Scottish rates were 14% lower (killed) than those in England and Wales, 20% higher (killed and seriously injured) and 8% lower (all severities). In all these cases, this represented an improvement in Scotland's figures relative to England & Wales (compared with the 1994-98 average).

It should be noted that the ratio of the fatality rates for Scotland and for England and Wales can fluctuate markedly from year to year, particularly for the child fatality rates due to the relatively small numbers in Scotland, (which may be subject to year-to-year changes which are large in percentage terms). Therefore, subsequent paragraphs do not refer to the fatality rates for children using different modes of transport. In addition, it should be remembered that the rates for some other sub-groups may be affected by year-to-year fluctuations: for example, the numbers are relatively small for most categories of child "killed and seriously injured" casualties in Scotland.

The casualty rates of car users in Scotland have for many years been substantially higher than those of England & Wales for "killed" and "killed and seriously injured" casualties, while for "all severities" the rate has been much lower. In 2004, Scotland's car user fatality rate was 17% higher than that of England & Wales, the "killed and seriously injured" rate was 14% higher, while the "all severity" car user rate was 29% lower. For child car users, the "killed and seriously injured" rate was 26% higher in Scotland and the "all severities" rate was 19% less than that of England and Wales.

In 2004, the pedestrian fatality rate per capita was 31% higher in Scotland than England & Wales, the "killed and seriously injured" rate in Scotland was 16% higher and the "all severities" rate was 1% higher. The child pedestrian casualty rates in Scotland were 30% higher ("killed and seriously injured") and 17% higher (all severities) than those for England & Wales.

Pedal cyclists casualty rates (all ages) in Scotland were substantially lower than in England & Wales in 2004 for "killed and seriously injured" (39% lower) and for "all severities" (49% lower). The child pedal cycle casualty "all severities" rate was also lower in Scotland than in England & Wales. These differences may reflect the fact that, according to the National Travel Survey, on average, people in Scotland do not travel as far by bicycle as people in England and Wales.

Further information about the numbers of casualties in England and Wales, and for Great Britain as a whole, can be found in "Road Casualties Great Britain 2004", which is published by the Department for Transport.

5.2 Road deaths: international comparison 2003 ( see Tables E and F)

This section compares Scotland's road death rates in 2003 with the fatality rates of some countries in Western Europe and some developed countries world-wide. The comparisons involve a total of 31 countries (including Scotland, and counting England, Wales and Northern Ireland as individual countries) and for the European Union (the EU figures are for 2001 and are based on the EU membership at that time). The fatality rates were calculated on a "per capita" basis (the statistics given are rates per million population), and the countries were then listed in order of their fatality rates in Table E sections (a), (b) and (c). Section (d) of the table ranks countries by a set of car user fatality rates which were calculated on a "per motor vehicle" basis (the statistics given are rates per million motor vehicles).

The figures used for foreign countries were obtained in October 2005 from tables on the International Road Traffic and Accident Database ( IRTAD) Web site. The IRTAD Web site address is http://www.bast.de/htdocs/fachthemen/irtad//english/englisch.html .

In accordance with the commonly agreed international definition, most countries define a fatality as being due to a road accident if death occurs within 30 days of the accident. However, the official road accident statistics of some countries limit the fatalities to those occurring within shorter periods after the accident. The numbers of deaths, and the death rates, which appear in the IRTAD tables take account of the adjustment factors used by the Economic Commission for Europe and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport to represent standardised 30-day numbers of deaths.

In 2003, Scotland's overall road death rate of 65 per million population was the seventh lowest of the 31 countries surveyed, and was only 61% of the overall EU figure (which was 106 per million population).

However, Scotland's overall road safety position does not appear as good when the fatality rates of pedestrians are considered separately. In 2003, Scotland's pedestrian fatality rate was 12 per million population, below the overall EU figure of 15 per million population. Scotland ranked twelfth of the 31 countries surveyed.

When the car user fatality rate is calculated on a per capita basis, Scotland has a low car user fatality rate (37 per million population: the eighth lowest). However, it may be argued that the car user fatality rate should be calculated on "per motor vehicle" basis, in order to try to approximate better the differing levels of car use in different countries, and hence reflect differences between countries in car drivers' "exposure to risk". (Rates based on the amount of car traffic in each country would be even better, but the data required to calculate them are not available for some countries.) When car user fatality rates are calculated on a "per motor vehicle" basis, Scotland's car user fatality rate of 78 per million motor vehicles was the eleventh best out of the 31 countries surveyed. The overall EU figure was 99.

The fatality rates per head of population for 29 countries (including Scotland) are shown, for each of four broad age-groups, in Table F. In this table, reflecting the availability of these figures from IRTAD there are figures for the United Kingdom, but no separate figures for England, Wales or Northern Ireland; also there are no figures for the EU as a whole. In most cases, Scotland has one of the lowest rates per capita. The Scottish rate is the sixth lowest for child casualties aged 0-14, the ninth lowest for those aged 15-24, the seventh lowest for those aged 25-64 and the second lowest (below the UK as a whole) for those aged 65+.

International comparisons of road safety are based on road death rates, because that is the only basis for which there is an international standard definition. As indicated above, the OECDIRTAD tables provide comparable figures for each country, after making adjustments to the data for countries which do not collect their figures on the standard basis. One should not try to compare different countries' overall road accident casualty rates ( i.e. the total numbers killed or injured, relative to the population of each country) because there is no internationally-adopted standard definition of a injury road accident. There are considerable differences between countries in the coverage of their injury road accident statistics. For example, many countries count only accidents which result in someone being admitted to hospital - so their figures would not include the kinds of accident which, in Britain, are classified as causing only "slight" injuries or certain types of serious injury. Because many countries' definitions of injury road accidents are much "narrower" than the definition used in the UK, their reported numbers of injury road accidents will appear low relative to ours - so comparing the reported numbers of people injured in road accidents may provide a misleading impression of different countries' road safety records.

Table A: Casualties in Scotland, England & Wales by severity
Number of casualties : All ages and child casualties

Scotland

England & Wales

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

1. All Ages

(a) Numbers

1994-98 ave

378

4,838

22,316

3,199

42,823

297,624

2000

326

3,893

20,511

3,084

37,687

299,808

2001

348

3,758

19,913

3,103

36,814

293,453

2002

304

3,524

19,267

3,127

35,897

283,356

2003

331

3,282

18,732

3,177

33,951

271,935

2004

306

3,048

18,405

2,915

31,308

262,449

2000-2004 ave

323

3,501

19,366

3,081

35,131

282,200

(b) Per cent changes:

2004 on 2003

-8

-7

-2

-8

-8

-3

2004 on 1994-98 ave.

-19

-37

-18

-9

-27

-12

2000-04 ave. on 94-98 ave

-15

-28

-13

-4

-18

-5

2. Child casualties (1)

(a) Numbers

1994-98 ave

30

842

3,852

230

6,018

40,504

2000

21

561

3,000

170

4,641

36,715

2001

20

544

2,923

199

4,447

35,361

2002

14

527

2,747

165

4,075

31,952

2003

17

431

2,477

154

3,669

29,518

2004

12

383

2,389

154

3,523

28,615

2000-2004 ave

17

489

2,707

168

4,071

32,432

(b) Per cent changes:

2004 on 2003

-29

-11

-4

0

-4

-3

2004 on 1994-98 ave.

-61

-55

-38

-33

-41

-29

2000-04 ave. on 94-98 ave

-45

-42

-30

-27

-32

-20

Table B: Casualties in Scotland, England & Wales by severity
Rates per 1,000 population : All ages and child casualties

Scotland

England & Wales

Scotland % of England & Wales

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

1. All Ages

percentages

(a) Rates per 1,000 population

1994-98 ave

.07

.95

4.38

.06

.83

5.79

119

114

76

2000

.06

.77

4.05

.06

.72

5.75

109

106

70

2001

.07

.74

3.93

.06

.70

5.60

116

106

70

2002

.06

.70

3.81

.06

.68

5.39

101

102

71

2003

.07

.65

3.70

.06

.64

5.15

109

101

72

2004

.06

.60

3.62

.05

.59

4.95

110

102

73

2000-2004 ave

.06

.69

3.82

.06

.67

5.37

109

103

71

(b) Per cent changes:

2004 on 2003

-8

-8

-2

-9

-8

-4

2004 on 1994-98 ave.

-19

-37

-17

-12

-29

-15

2000-04 ave. on 94-98 ave

-14

-27

-13

-6

-20

-7

2. Child casualties (1)

percentages

(a) Rates per 1,000 population (2)

1994-98 ave

.03

.83

3.78

.02

.57

3.83

137

145

99

2000

.02

.57

3.05

.02

.44

3.47

133

130

88

2001

.02

.56

3.01

.02

.42

3.37

109

132

89

2002

.01

.55

2.88

.02

.39

3.06

93

141

94

2003

.02

.46

2.63

.01

.35

2.84

121

129

92

2004

.01

.41

2.55

.01

.34

2.77

86

120

92

2000-2004 ave

.02

.51

2.83

.02

.39

3.11

109

131

91

(b) Per cent changes:

2004 on 2003

-29

-10

-3

1

-3

-3

2004 on 1994-98 ave.

-57

-50

-32

-31

-40

-28

2000-04 ave. on 94-98 ave

-41

-38

-25

-26

-31

-19

(1) Child 0-15 years
(2) Mid-2004 population estimates used for Scotland and England and Wales.

Table C: Casualties in Scotland, England & Wales by mode of transport and severity, 2004
Number of casualties : All ages and child casualties

Scotland

England & Wales

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

1. All ages

Pedestrian

75

746

3,063

596

6,734

31,821

Pedal cycle

7

127

773

127

2,181

15,876

Car

167

1,569

11,549

1,486

14,337

168,994

Bus/coach

3

65

911

17

423

7,910

Other

54

541

2,109

689

7,633

37,848

Total

306

3,048

18,405

2,915

31,308

262,449

2. Child casualties (1)

Pedestrian

8

246

1,176

69

2,094

11,061

Pedal cycle

0

40

263

25

537

4,419

Car

3

77

803

47

672

10,885

Bus/coach

0

3

81

2

54

1,328

Other

1

17

66

11

166

922

Total

12

383

2,389

154

3,523

28,615

Table D: Casualties in Scotland, England & Wales by mode of transport and severity, 2004
Rate per 1,000 population : All ages and child casualties

Scotland

England & Wales

Scotland % of England & Wales

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

Killed

Killed & Serious

All severities

percentages

1. All ages

Pedestrian

.01

.15

.60

.01

.13

.60

131

116

101

Pedal cycle

.00

.03

.15

.00

.04

.30

58

61

51

Car

.03

.31

2.27

.03

.27

3.19

117

114

71

Bus/coach

.00

.01

.18

.00

.01

.15

184

161

120

Other

.01

.11

.42

.01

.14

.71

82

74

58

Total

.06

.60

3.62

.05

.59

4.95

110

102

73

2. Child casualties (1)

Pedestrian

.01

.26

1.26

.01

.20

1.07

128

130

117

Pedal cycle

-

.04

.28

.00

.05

.43

n/a

82

66

Car

.00

.08

.86

.00

.07

1.05

70

126

81

Bus/coach

-

.00

.09

.00

.01

.13

n/a

61

67

Other

.00

.02

.07

.00

.02

.09

100

113

79

Total

.01

.41

2.55

.01

.34

2.77

86

120

92

(1) Child 0-15 years

Table E: International Comparisons
Fatality rates per capita, for (a) all road users, (b) pedestrians, (c) car users; and (d) per motor vehicle for car users: ranked by respective rates - 2003 (as recorded in IRTAD(1))

(a) All road users

Per million population

(b) Pedestrians

Per million population

Numbers killed

Rate

Index

Numbers killed

Rate

Index

Turkey (2001)

3,840

56

86

Netherlands

97

6

48

Wales

173

59

90

Sweden

55

6

50

Sweden

529

59

91

Norway

33

7

58

England

3,004

60

92

Denmark

49

9

73

Norway

280

61

94

Germany

812

10

79

Netherlands

1,028

63

97

Iceland

3

10

83

Scotland

331

65

100

France

626

10

85

Japan

8,877

70

107

Finland

59

11

91

Finland

379

73

112

Wales

34

12

93

Switzerland

546

75

114

Australia

232

12

94

Iceland

23

79

122

Canada

379

12

97

Germany

6,613

80

123

Scotland

63

12

100

Denmark

432

80

123

Switzerland

91

12

100

Australia

1,621

82

125

Belgium (2002)

132

13

103

Irish Republic

335

84

129

Italy

762

13

107

Canada

2,766

87

134

Turkey (2001)

918

13

108

Northern Ireland

150

88

135

England

677

14

109

France

6,058

102

156

New Zealand

58

14

117

Italy

6,015

105

161

E.U. (2001)

5,650

15

121

E.U. (2001)

39,724

106

162

Luxembourg

7

16

126

Austria

931

115

176

Irish Republic

64

16

130

New Zealand

461

115

176

Austria

132

16

131

Luxembourg

53

118

182

USA

4,749

16

132

Spain

5,399

128

196

Northern Ireland

28

16

132

Belgium (2002)

1,353

131

200

Spain

787

19

150

Hungary

1,326

131

201

Japan

2,739

21

173

Czech Republic

1,447

142

218

Portugal

280

27

215

USA

42,643

147

225

Hungary

299

29

238

Portugal

1,546

148

226

Greece (2000)

375

38

308

Poland

5,640

148

227

Poland

1,878

49

396

Republic of Korea

7,212

150

231

Czech Republic

290

50

400

Greece (2000)

2,037

193

296

Republic of Korea

2,896

572

4613

(1) Source: International Road Traffic and Accident Database ( OECD). The basis of the numbers is described in the text.
Some of the countries may have updated their figures since they provided the data to OECD.

Table E (continued): International Comparisons
Fatality rates per capita, for (a) all road users, (b) pedestrians, (c) car users; and (d) per motor vehicle for car users: ranked by respective rates - 2003 (as recorded in IRTAD(1))

(c) Car users

Numbers killed

Per million population

(d) Car users - fatality rates per million motor vehicles

Numbers killed

Per million motor vehicles

Motor Vehicles per 1,000

Rate

Index

Rate

Index

population

Japan

2,230

17

47

Japan

2,230

28

35

634

Turkey (2001)

1,630

24

65

Switzerland

260

53

68

668

Wales

84

28

77

Wales

84

54

69

524

Netherlands

483

30

81

England

1,498

56

72

532

England

1,498

30

81

Netherlands

483

58

73

518

Switzerland

260

36

96

Sweden

346

69

88

559

Republic of Korea

1,717

36

97

Germany

3,774

70

90

650

Scotland

187

37

100

Italy

3,125

72

92

754

Sweden

346

39

105

Canada

1,440

76

97

597

Finland

217

42

113

Norway(2002)

213

77

99

605

Norway

193

42

115

Scotland

187

78

100

469

Irish Republic

172

43

117

Finland

217

82

104

510

Denmark

244

45

123

Iceland

17

82

105

714

Canada

1,440

46

124

USA

19,460

84

107

794

Germany

3,774

46

124

Irish Republic

172

89

113

487

N. Ireland

92

54

146

Australia(1999)

1,138

91

116

634

Italy

3,125

55

148

Denmark

244

98

124

465

Australia (1999)

1,138

58

157

Republic of Korea

1,717

98

125

366

Iceland

17

59

159

E.U. (2001)

22,463

99

127

601

E.U. (2001)

22,463

60

162

Austria

524

102

131

630

Portugal

630

60

163

France

3,709

102

131

607

France

3,709

62

169

N. Ireland

92

108

137

499

Hungary

640

63

171

Portugal

630

121

154

496

Austria

524

65

175

New Zealand

349

125

159

699

Poland

2,543

67

181

Spain

3,211

128

163

597

USA

19,460

67

182

Belgium (2002)

809

139

177

569

Spain

3,211

76

207

Luxembourg (2000)

53

155

198

768

Czech Republic

798

78

212

Poland

2,543

160

204

416

Belgium (2002)

809

79

214

Turkey (2001)

1,630

166

212

143

Greece (2000)

891

84

229

Greece (2000)

891

176

224

480

New Zealand

349

87

236

Czech Republic

798

178

226

440

Luxembourg (2000)

53

119

324

Hungary

640

204

260

310

(1) Source: International Road Traffic and Accident Database ( OECD). The basis of the numbers is described in the text.
Some of the countries may have updated their figures since they provided the data to OECD.

Table F: International Comparisons (1)
Road accident fatality rates per capita, by age group, ranked by respective rates - 2003

(a) 0-14 years

Per million

(b) 15-24 years

Per million

pop

Index

pop

Index

Slovenia

10

68

Japan

82

60

Luxembourg

12

78

Norway

108

79

Sweden

13

87

Finland

109

79

Japan

13

87

Sweden

111

80

United Kingdom

13

88

Republic of Korea

111

81

Scotland

15

100

Hungary

116

84

Italy

16

109

Netherlands

121

88

Germany

17

112

United Kingdom

128

94

Switzerland

19

124

Scotland

137

100

Ireland

19

128

Denmark

139

102

Canada

20

130

Iceland

140

102

Belgium(2002)

20

133

Switzerland

144

105

France

20

134

Ireland

146

106

Hungary

20

135

Australia

155

113

Netherlands

21

142

Canada

158

115

Denmark

22

145

Poland

167

121

Norway

22

146

Italy

177

129

Finland

24

158

Germany

180

131

Czech Republic

24

159

Czech Republic

197

144

Greece(2000)

25

167

France

201

146

Spain

25

167

Slovenia

211

154

Australia

27

178

Portugal

212

154

Austria

28

185

Luxembourg

216

157

New Zealand

31

203

Spain

217

158

Iceland

31

205

Austria

218

159

Portugal

33

222

New Zealand

224

163

Poland

35

234

Belgium(2002)

256

186

USA

35

234

USA

262

191

Republic of Korea

41

270

Greece(2000)

295

215

(c) 25-64 years

(d) 65+ years

Japan

53

85

United Kingdom

69

98

Iceland

54

86

Scotland

71

100

Netherlands

57

90

Sweden

77

109

Norway

58

92

Norway

79

111

Sweden

58

92

Germany

92

130

United Kingdom

59

94

Luxembourg

95

134

Scotland

63

100

Netherlands

100

141

Switzerland

67

106

Australia

105

148

Finland

67

106

Switzerland

110

155

Germany

73

116

France

113

160

Denmark

77

122

Italy

114

161

Australia

77

122

Spain

114

161

Ireland

81

128

Canada

115

162

Canada

85

135

Ireland

120

169

France

100

158

Finland

120

170

Italy

102

161

Belgium(2002)

123

174

Austria

106

168

Denmark

124

175

New Zealand

112

178

New Zealand

138

195

Slovenia

113

180

Hungary

149

210

Spain

132

209

Japan

150

212

Belgium(2002)

140

222

Austria

158

222

Luxembourg

140

222

Czech Republic

163

230

USA

150

238

Portugal

171

241

Czech Republic

153

243

Slovenia

177

250

Portugal

154

244

Poland

179

252

Hungary

158

251

USA

185

261

Republic of Korea

158

251

Iceland

206

291

Poland

163

259

Greece(2000)

234

330

Greece(1999)

196

311

Republic of Korea

430

607

(1) Source: International Road Traffic and Accident Database ( OECD). The basis of the numbers is described in the text.