TAYSIDE Police, along with Road Safety Scotland, and all other Scottish Forces, will take part in the Country Roads Weekend campaign, between 7 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday, March 8) and 7 a.m. on Monday, March 11.
Country roads are generally roads out-with urban areas which have a speed limit, for a car or motorcycle, of 40 miles per hour or more. Around 70% of all fatal road traffic collisions occur on these types of roads and these have accounted for 772 fatal or serious collisions in Tayside over the last five years.
During the campaign, officers will continue to provide education and awareness of hazards that may be encountered on country roads and will enforce legislation where vehicles are driven in an inappropriate manner or at an inappropriate speed.
Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, Head of Road Policing said: “With the prospect of better weather coming to the Tayside area, more vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, pedal cyclists and horse riders may take to the roads again. A greater number of agricultural vehicles are also using the roads to travel between fields and access farm land.
“It is important for all motorists to be aware of the various hazards that exist on these roads as opposed to driving within urban areas. This includes slow moving vehicles, mud on the road, agricultural and wild animals. Agricultural vehicles may be entering or exiting from fields which may not have been used for several months over the winter.
“Ask yourself “Do you know what is around the next corner?” and “Could you stop in the distance that you can see to be clear if you have to?” When using country roads, these are questions you must continually ask yourself.
“We are lucky enough to have some of the most scenic roads in Scotland which attract large numbers of drivers and motorcyclists from all over and we want them to enjoy using our roads in safety. Whilst the majority of motorists do drive or ride vehicles responsibility, unfortunately a small minority do not and this is the group that we will deal with robustly.
“We will also be using our powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 legislation to warn drivers and when appropriate, seize vehicles if they are being used in an anti-social manner.
“With the increase in hazards, drivers or riders must travel at an appropriate speed for the road and conditions. Even when the national speed limit applies, this may not necessarily be an appropriate speed in the circumstances. A driver must take account of all available information, such as warning signs, road and weather conditions to ensure they are driving appropriately.
“Remember even if you drive the same roads every day, conditions change all the time and as a driver you have to consider all these variations. I would urge everyone to drive within the speed limits and at an appropriate speed for the conditions or you may have cause to regret it….. Don’t Risk It! “
Tayside Safety Camera Partnership (TSCP) will be providing safety camera enforcement in support of Tayside Police’s campaign to make people think about their speed and deter them from exceeding the limit and in doing this contribute to a reduction in road collisions and casualties and encourage safer, more responsible use of country roads.
High visibility enforcement will be taking place on country roads and the presence of a mobile safety camera vehicle should remind drivers that they are travelling on a stretch of road with a history of collisions and casualties and evidence of excessive speed.
Arron Duncan, Partnership Manager, said: “People think they know the country roads so well due to driving them regularly, however knowing the road doesn’t mean you know what is going to happen on that particular road at any given time. It’s this unexpected element that means people should be driving within the speed limit, at an appropriate speed for the road and weather conditions and giving themselves time to react and stop should they need to.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “In Scotland, we currently have the lowest road casualty figures since records began. Fatalities are down by 11 per cent from 2010, and while even one death on our roads is one too many, there are encouraging signs of progress. “This success is due to many influences, not least the commitment and dedication of the road safety community in Scotland and the responsible behaviour of the vast majority of road users.”
Road Safety Scotland and former Formula 1 racing driver David Coulthard are urging drivers throughout Scotland to adjust their speed on country roads to help reduce the number of collisions not only in Tayside but across the country. David Coulthard, who did much of his early driving in the Dumfries and Galloway countryside, is backing the messages to get drivers to slow down and drive appropriately.
To promote this message Road Safety Scotland have commissioned television and cinema adverts and are inviting drivers to test their driving skills against David Coulthard’s by participating in a “Country Roads Challenge” which is scheduled to take place on the 23 and 24 March 2013 in the Wellgate Shopping Centre, Dundee. The challenge will be to safely drive a model car over a set course on a country road circuit whilst attempting to beat the time previously set by him.
Chief Inspector Bowman concluded: “I would urge anyone who has information about motorists behaving irresponsibly to contact Tayside Police on 101 or pass the information anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”