24 June 2021

Covid-19 impacts on the numbers of north east road collisions and casualties

The release of the latest edition of Transport Scotland’s Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland (KRRCS) publication, which provides provisional data on reported road casualties and collisions in local authority areas across Scotland, has shown the impact of Covid-19 on north east road safety performance during 2020.

For much of the year (2020) Covid-related travel restrictions were in force which led to considerably fewer vehicles using the road. 

Transport Scotland has indicated that ‘car traffic levels dropped to around 25% of 2019 values between March and September 2020’* and during that time, when restrictions applied, many people chose to make greater use of north east roads on foot or by bicycle to undertake local travel or physical exercise.

These restrictions have significantly impacted on both the number of road collisions and casualties, with reductions occurring in all three local authority areas.

The following tables show the total numbers of reported road collisions and casualties for Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray during 2018, 2019 and 2020 – with the % change shown between 2020 and 2019 also included:

Reported Injury Road Collisions by Local Authority
 

                         2018  2019  2020 Annual % change 2020 compared with 2019
Aberdeen            137   114      70          39%
Aberdeenshire     242   198     118         40%
Moray                   50     53       30         43%

Reported Road Casualties by Local Authority


                          2018 2019   2020 Annual % change 2020 compared with 2019
Aberdeen             154   144       84         42%
Aberdeenshire      352    289     166        43%
Moray                    75      81       44        46%


Commenting on the data, 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.

“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, the roads and footpaths saw much more use by these road users and it will 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.

“The end of 2020 also saw the conclusion of the Scottish Government’s Road Safety Framework to 2020 and with the statistical reductions achieved locally during the year, it will likely mean that we will meet most, if not all, of the road casualty reduction targets set back in 2009. 

“This lower level provides the ideal springboard for the Road Safety North East Scotland partners as we work with the new national framework, with its updated and challenging new road casualty reduction targets, through to 2030.

“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.” 
 
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