Road casualties in Scotland fall to lowest level since records began

The number of road casualties in 2020 fell to the lowest number since records began. 

Transport Scotland statisticians have released provisional figures for road casualties showing a significant drop in 2020 amid a decrease in motor traffic. 

The figures show the total number of casualties fell by 35% between 2019 and 2020, from 7,718 to 4,992 –  the lowest number since 1950 when records began.

One hundred and forty two people were killed in reported road accidents in Scotland in 2020, twenty four fewer than in 2019. The number of people seriously injured was 1,539.

It’s believed that casualty reductions will have been greatly influenced by the general reduction in motor traffic seen over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department for Transport (DfT) estimate that motor traffic volume dropped by 23% in Scotland in 2020 compared with 2019.

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Compared to 2019, the total reported casualties decreased across all modes of transport except pedal cyclists which increased by 2%.

Bus and Coach casualties saw the largest decrease in the number of casualties with a fall of 58%. 

These findings will also reflect, in part, changes in travel habits observed during to the pandemic.

In 2020, the DfT estimate that cycling on the road network increased by 61% in  Scotland.

Bus passenger numbers are estimated to have dropped by 53% in 2020.

Scotland’s previous Road Safety Framework, which ran until 2020, contained five national targets for casualty reductions due for delivery in 2020. These targets compare performance to a 2004-2008 baseline and all 5 targets have provisionally been met.



Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “Whilst it is no surprise that with fewer car trips over the lockdown period, we’re seeing fewer road casualties – prior to the pandemic road casualties in Scotland had been showing a clear, ongoing reduction. Improving road safety further remains a priority for the Scottish Government.

“Our road safety partners and I know that one death on Scotland’s roads is one too many. The fact we’ve met all our casualty reductions targets, putting us among the best performing European countries, means very little to those who have sadly lost friends and love ones in tragic circumstances.

“In February we launched our new road safety framework for the next decade. It sets out a vision for Scotland to have the best road safety performance in the world by 2030 and an ambitious long term goal where no one is seriously injured or killed on our roads by 2050.

“Road deaths are not an inevitability and they should not be expected to happen. We are committed to working with our partners to secure the ultimate vision established in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030 – Vision Zero – where no one is killed on our roads.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992