In 1987 the government adopted a target to reduce all road casualties by one third compared with the 1981-85 average by the year 2000. The new consultation paper examines the type of road safety target, or targets, that could be adopted for the period after the turn of the century.
At the end of 1995, the number of road deaths in Scotland was 36% below the 1981-85 average and the reduction in fatal and serious injuries was 40%.
Because the number of slight injuries is much greater than the number of those killed and seriously injured the overall reduction in casualties was 18%. This overall 18% reduction in Scotland to date compares favourably with the reduction in total casualties of 2.5% in England and an increase of 3.5% in Wales.
'I believe that the target set by the government in 1987 to reduce all road casualties by one third by the year 2000 has been very successful in focussing the efforts of all those involved in road safety by establishing a common goal and shared aim. It is refreshing that the number of road deaths and serious injuries has already reduced by more than a third, but we must maintain this momentum.
'The time is right to start considering an appropriate target for use beyond the year 2000. The new target must be effective in practice and motivate all those involved in road safety to continue to strive towards reducing the number of tragic accidents on our roads.'
The government believe that the new target should be challenging yet attainable, and easy to understand and monitor. The consultation paper seeks views on what form the target should take, whether it should deal only with total casualties (as the present target does), or whether it should distinguish between slight, serious and fatal injuries.
Other options include expressing the target as a reduction per kilometre of road travelled or per head of population, and whether there should be a target for different modes of transport. Views on the new target date are also sought. The paper does not, however, seek views on the numerical value of any target; this will need to be considered after views on the type of target have first been taken.