by Chief Inspector Stephen Innes, Road Policing Division

Police Scotland is committed to reducing road casualties and through effective patrolling of the roads we seek to positively influence driver and road user behaviour, and make Scotland’s roads safer.

Whilst Policing and the patrolling of our roads is essentially a 24/7 business, a range of bespoke road safety initiatives and Operations are undertaken throughout the year by Road Policing Officers, local Policing Officers and the Scottish Safety Camera Units, supported by key Partners.

In June of this year, a road safety campaign led by Police Scotland and supported by Road Safety Scotland and the British Vehicle Rental & Vehicle Leasing Association (BVRLA) was launched, encouraging visiting motorists to “Drive on the Left”.

The campaign launch came on the back of a spate of serious collisions over the last year, and is intended to encourage visitors to safely enjoy Scotland’s roads.

Leaflets, stickers and wristbands – designed to be worn on the left hand of drivers with the words “Drive on the Left” – have been produced in eight different languages. These will be distributed by car rental companies upon the delivery of a hire vehicle to visiting drivers.

Drink and Drug Driving continues to be an area of focus for Police Scotland, and we are committed to tackling the irresponsible actions of anyone who drives drunk or after taking drugs. Between 24 June and 7 July, Officers across the country carried out 3,076 breath tests, with 238 of those showing drivers over the breath-alcohol limit.

29 of those detected were caught ‘the morning after’, and 27 motorists face forfeiture orders for the removal of their vehicle as a result of their actions.

During the campaign, a man in the Highlands and Islands was arrested following a road traffic collision and blew eight times over the drink-drive limit when he was arrested.  A man in Livingston was also found to be more than six times over the drink-drive limit when he was arrested in relation to alleged road traffic offences.

Following the campaign, Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, Head of Road Policing said:

“It beggars belief that despite the continued efforts of road safety Agencies that so many drivers in Scotland still aren’t heeding our warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving, or getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs.  This selfish, reckless behaviour is a personal choice and could cost someone their life.  Drivers and motorcyclists who drink or take drugs puts themselves and other road users at grave risk of death or serious injury”.

Continuing with the theme of Drug Driving, in October of this year Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 is scheduled to be implemented in Scotland, and will mirror existing laws which are currently in place in England & Wales. Associated legislation will see the introduction of new drug driving limits and roadside testing for the presence of drugs, and will significantly enhance our ability to detect and deter motorists engaging in this extremely risky driving behaviour.

While motorcyclists make up just 1% of all motorists, they account for around 20% of all people killed in road crashes.

Focusing on casualty reduction, the annual Police Scotland motorcycle safety campaign runs between April and September with Officers from across the country working to promote safe and responsible riding by motorcyclists, but also encourage all motorists to be considerate and respectful towards motorcyclists.

The campaign will see weekends of action designed to focus on education and engagement with motorcyclists, and enforcement of road traffic violations where necessary.

Police Scotland continues to support in conjunction with Cycling Scotland and the British Horse Society initiatives such as “Operation Close Pass” and “Lose The Blinkers”. These initiatives which seek to reduce close overtaking and poor driving around vulnerable road users such as pedal cyclists and horse riders, employ a mix of roadside education and enforcement, and aim to modify and influence driver behaviour.

Police Scotland’s role is far reaching and has a positive impact on people and communities across Scotland. We will continue to deploy our Officers and Safety Camera Units in an intelligent and targeted way to maximise the potential for casualty reduction, and in support of partners strive to “keep people safe” on Scotland’s roads.