Police Scotland have welcomed statistics which show that the number of penalties have fallen significantly in the year to March 2015, when compared to 2013-14. Road offences are a serious issue in Scotland, accounting for over half of all Scottish criminal offences but the figures show they are down a third from the previous recorded period.
This has been the first comparison in Scottish road offences and safety since the formation of Police Scotland only forming two years ago but it has provided plenty of insight into how the road awareness and perception in Scotland may be changing.
Mobile phone offences and those involving seatbelts fell most quickly, with mobile phone offences halved, from 35,674 to 17,978, a huge drop and significantly the first that has been seen in six years and the number of drivers caught not wearing seatbelts was down by almost 60% from 37,880 to 15,619. Those caught speeding fell by over 25% from 82,382 to 60,926 and the whole picture is that Scottish roads are becoming safer and the police are working to catch those who are not sticking to the rules.
Unfortunately the only major blot on the record is that road deaths increased, with two more than in the previous period at 192 but serious injuries came down by 83, with a total of 1,627.
Scotland has become something of a pioneer within the UK when it comes to road safety. They made significant commitments to tackling drink driving with their lowering of the alcohol blood limit in line with most of Europe and their roads seem to be becoming safer across the board, according the police records.
Campaigners have expressed concern that road deaths have increased whilst convictions are falling and this has led to calls for further investigation of enforcement policy to see where police can use their resources more effectively and target the right offences at the right times.
High Profile Road Policing Approach
Speaking on behalf of Police Scotland, Chief Superintendent Iain Murray highlighted that ‘officers engage with drivers to provide guidance and awareness and ‘real-time’ education when appropriate, and to enforce legislation when necessary.’ He further described this approach as ‘high profile’ and means that the forces in Scotland are able to provide a visible deterrent.
Police Scotland also highlighted that they had stopped a vehicle every two minutes in the last year and that warnings were issued in some instances where penalties were judged unnecessary. It’s this element of their practice that road safety campaigners want to focus on as they want to be assured that offenders are receiving the appropriate response to their risk-taking.