Road casualties in Scotland remain steady in 2021 show latest statistics

Transport Scotland Statisticians have released provisional figures for road casualties showing a slight drop in 2021. The total casualty figures and fatality figures for 2021 are the lowest since annual records began. However, they are broadly similar to the previous lows recorded in 2020.

The figures show the total number of casualties fell by 0.5% between 2020 and 2021 (from 5,047 to 5,023), the lowest number since annual records began in 1950. One hundred and thirty nine people were killed in reported road accidents in Scotland in 2021, two fewer than in 2020, and also the lowest number since annual records began. The number of people seriously injured was 1,596, 65 (4%) more than 2020.

Like the figures for 2020, the 2021 casualty numbers will have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated impacts on travel. Most notably, these impacts included the ‘second lockdown’, which ran from 5 January 2021 to April 2021, and incorporated a legal requirement forbidding anyone from leaving their home except for essential purposes.

Compared to 2020, there were falls in reported casualties of 7% for pedestrians, 18% for pedal cyclists, and 8% for bus and coach users. However, there were increases in car casualties of 3% and motorcyclist casualties of 8%.

Scotland’s current Road Safety Framework, contains four national targets for casualty reductions due for delivery in 2030. These targets compare performance to a 2014-2018 baseline.

Target2030 target reduction2021 achieved reduction
People killed50%20%
People seriously injured50%45%
Children (aged < 16) killed60%23%
Children (aged < 16) seriously injured60%50%

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Commenting on the publication of Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2021, Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “The statistics published today confirm that for another year, overall road casualties on Scotland’s roads are at the lowest levels since annual records began in 1950.

“However, like the figures for 2020, we should remember that the 2021 casualty numbers will be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated changes in travel.

“Whilst it’s no surprise that with fewer car trips during the second national lockdown we’re seeing fewer road casualties, prior to the pandemic road casualties in Scotland had been showing a clear, ongoing reduction and we must continue our hard work in this area as travel behaviours return to normal.

“One death on Scotland’s roads is one too many. The fact that road casualties are at historically low levels means very little to those who have sadly lost friends and loved ones in tragic circumstances.”

Background

  • In February 2021 the Scottish Government published an ambitious Road Safety Framework for the next decade.
  • The framework sets out a compelling long-term goal for road safety, Vision Zero, where there are zero fatalities and injuries on Scotland’s roads by 2050.
  • The journey to achieving this goal also includes ambitious interim targets where the number of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads will be halved by 2030.
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