Collisions and casualties reduced on Aberdeenshire roads as Covid cuts traffic levels

Accidents on Aberdeenshire’s roads reduced significantly in 2020 as Covid-19 restrictions dramatically reduced traffic levels.

By Kevin McRoberts
Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 6:30 am
Lighter traffic on Aberdeenshire’s roads has inevitably resulted in fewer collisions and casualties.
Lighter traffic on Aberdeenshire’s roads has inevitably resulted in fewer collisions and casualties.

There were 118 collisions where someone was injured last year, compared to 198 in 2019 – a 40 per cent reduction. The number of casualties was also down by 43 per cent, from 289 people suffering injuries in 2019 to 166 people being hurt in road collisions in 2020.

Ewan Wallace, head of transportation at Aberdeenshire Council and chair of Road Safety North East Scotland, said: “The reductions seen in north east road collisions and casualties in 2020 are significant and have undoubtedly arisen from the unparalleled changes which people had to make to their lives during the response to Covid.

“In the first half of 2020, many north east roads saw only a small proportion of their usual traffic flows and putting it simply, less people using the road led to fewer collisions and casualties.

“By the end of 2020, traffic volumes had returned to near normal levels and, in a road safety context, we will have to acknowledge that 2020 was likely a unique year which has temporarily distorted – ironically in a positive way given the negative backdrop of Covid – the general direction of local road safety performance.”

Mr Wallace noted that several forms of road use saw significant increases during 2020, when cycling and walking became an essential part of daily lockdown life for many across the north east, whether this was to undertake exercise or to engage in local travel.

Mr Wallace said it would be interesting to ascertain later in the year, when the full statistics are released, if this change is reflected in any way within national collision and casualty statistics.

He added that the lower level of collisions and casualties provided a springboard for the Road Safety North East Scotland partners to work towards challenging new road casualty reduction targets set out in the national Road Safety Framework through to 2030.

Mr Wallace said: “Sadly, even in the past few weeks, we have seen a number of serious and fatal road traffic collisions on north east roads and our ongoing partnership work to promote the various strands of road safety will continue.”