MOTORISTS THROUGHOUT MORAY and the Highlands are being urged join in the Make the BRAKE Pledge this week.
Today marks the start of Road Safety Week – and that has prompted campaigning MSP David Stewart to call on every motorist to act.
The Make the Break Pledge is a joint initiative by safety charity BRAKE and Aviva, Specsavers and Police Scotland, as well as Mr Stewart own initiative, the North of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NSDAT).
NSDAT includes the family of Claire Mackenzie from Wick, who lost a family member from a road collision.
“Making our roads safer is a priority for my team and I and we are always happy to support or assist other organisations with regard this aim,” Mr Stewart said, adding: “Every day in the UK someone is killed or seriously injured on our roads and frankly that is just not acceptable as one person killed is one too many, so we have to do all we can to address this matter.
“Research carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory(TRL) revealed that in Scotland alone 12.5% of all road collision involve a driver aged between 17 and 19 years.
“Alarmingly, in the Highlands and Grampian areas 15.7 % of all collisions involve a driver aged between 17 and 19 years. In these areas alone we could reduce the casualties by 64 – and prevent those killed or seriously injured by 13, if a pilot graduated licence scheme was introduced.
“That is something I have been pushing for over the last six and a half years. In the meantime we have to use everything we can in our locker to make our roads safer.
“Driver behaviour is responsible for almost all road collisions. If we can change our driving behaviour, we can help to make our communities safer places to be. Every action that we take, as a driver or as a passenger, can change the outcome of a journey and the future of a family.
“This is why for Road Safety Week this year I am supporting and working with BRAKE and other organisations on this initiative. We are asking all drivers to take the six elements of the BRAKE Pledge – Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp and Sustainable.”
Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns at BRAKE, said: “Road crashes kill five people every single day in the UK, and devastate another 60 families through life-changing injuries.
“Road Safety Week is a vital national event where we can focus on the cure, engaging with educators, professionals, community groups and other organisations, and spreading road safety messages to help save lives.
“The new Road Safety Week website is a vital tool in this engagement work, a one-stop shop where we can share information and resources that promote safer road use, and where visitors can show their commitment to road safety and sustainability by making and sharing Brake’s Pledge.”
The BRAKE pledge
• Slow: Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions is recorded by police at collision scenes as a contributory factor in more than one in four fatal road collisions in Great Britain. In Scotland excessive speed was reported in 12% of all reported collisions and 26% of fatal collisions.
• Sober: Having even one drink before getting behind the wheel can affect your ability to drive.
• Secure: Seat belts are still seen as an inconvenience by some drivers, yet using one, reduces the chances of serious injury or death. Police Scotland report that your chances of receiving serious or fatal injuries in a road collision are reduced by 50% if you wear a seatbelt.
• Silent: Drivers who perform a complex secondary task, like using a mobile, while at the wheel are three times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers
• Sharp: Booking in for a regular eye test should be at the top of any driver’s to-do list. 42% of Scotland’s drivers have not had an eye test in the last two years.
• Sustainable: By minimising the amount we drive, and walking, cycling or using public transport instead, we are making our communities safer places, and doing the best we can for the environment and our individual health.