19 July 2009

Aberdeenshire Council hosts launch of Scotland's Road Safety Framework

Safety-conscious pupils from Strathburn Primary School in Inverurie helped set the scene for the launch of Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020 at Aberdeenshire Council’s Woodhill House headquarters this week. Primary 3 pupils from Strathburn Primary School joined Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson, councillor Peter Argyle and councillor Jill Webster at Woodhill House as they launched Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020.

The P3 pupils had prepared their own song highlighting a ‘stop, look, listen, think’ message as Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson visited the council to launch the far-reaching document on Monday, June 15.

The framework outlines new targets – the first specifically for Scotland – to reduce the number of serious injuries on Scotland’s roads by half and the number of fatalities by 40 percent over the next decade.

An expert group helped shape a range of new proposals including action to target young drivers, a pilot of high-tech devices which restrict vehicle speed, and examination of the case for introducing greater restrictions on newly-qualified drivers.

Proposals to encourage local authorities to introduce 20mph zones in all residential areas and commitments to improve school bus safety are also included.

Scotland’s Road Safety Framework ‘Go Safe on Scotland’s roads – it’s everyone’s responsibility’ also includes calls for changes in legislation concerning powers currently reserved to Westminster.

The Transport Minister said that, while British targets set in 1999 have been exceeded, the framework would provide an ambitious vision for future developments in road safety.

Mr Stevenson said: “The Road Safety Framework sets out a shared commitment to educate and inform, to engineer, and to enforce traffic laws.

“But progress does not just depend on central government, local authorities, the police, fire and rescue and other emergency services or the main road safety organisations – it is the responsibility of every single road user in Scotland.

“The framework sets out our vision, our goals, and our commitment to make it happen together. I hope it will galvanise us all to Go Safe on Scotland’s roads – it’s everyone’s responsibility.”

The launch was also an opportunity to highlight work ongoing in Aberdeenshire to help improve road safety.

The authority’s recent work on school transport safety includes measures to ensure bus operators display school bus signage appropriately; a review of pick-up and drop-off points, and the first UK trial of a new interactive school bus stop known as SeeMe.

The council has also been involved in the development of education resources including the ‘School Bus Stop!’ campaign, which includes a safety DVD entitled ‘1 Second. 1 Life’.

The Strathburn pupils helped launch a new proposed school bus sign designed by Aberdeenshire Council in support of a campaign to heighten awareness for drivers and schoolchildren around school pick-up and drop-off points.

Cllr Peter Argyle, chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “All of us have, over a number of years, been working in partnership to reduce the number and severity of casualties on our road network.

“The impact of these tragic events on our communities is a constant reminder of why we must concentrate on finding innovative and effective approaches to tackling this problem.

“By working together on education, engineering and enforcement programmes, we have reduced the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads over the last decade, but we need to do more to continue this downward trend.”

Also attending the launch were members of an expert panel brought together to help inform the new framework.

Representatives of the Scottish government, Scottish councils, police forces, fire and rescue services, road safety organisations, the Community Safety Network, NESTRANS and the Scottish Safety Camera Programme were also present.

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