Drop in road casualties continues long-term trend in Fife
Councillors have expressed surprise at a lower-than-expected drop in road casualties in Fife during 2020 despite lockdown restrictions.
In all, 241 collisions were reported in the Kingdom last year, in which 340 people were injured - down a fifth from 306 crashes and 420 injuries in 2019.
Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor Dave Coleman was among those who believed the figures might have been lower due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I thought Covid would have caused the statistics to drop dramatically given that we weren't meant to be out and about as much," he said.
However, long-term trends for the region are positive. Total casualties have fallen by two thirds since 2004, with the greatest decline seen in slight injuries.
Fife Council road safety consultant Steve Sellars said: "Looking far back, there's a significant decline over the long term with much fluctuation year on year.
"Of course, we want to see the day where there are no casualties on our roads but unfortunately, we're not there yet.
"There's a lot more work to do and there's no room for complacency - and behind every number is a personal tragedy.
"Work must continue to bring these numbers down further."
A report on casualties presented to a Fife Council committee today (Thursday April 8) detailed 11 incidents that resulted in 12 fatalities.
All but three happened between July and October, when lockdown restrictions were loosened following the March lockdown, and five involved male drivers. Two women were killed: a three-year-old girl and a 74-year-old passenger.
Police Scotland estimates that four-fifths of incidents were caused by driver error.
While slight casualties have fallen dramatically, fatal and serious injuries continue to fluctuate year-on-year. Crashes are estimated to have cost Fife £53 million in 2020, based on the estimated direct costs and wider human and economic impacts associated with each collision.
Derek Crowe, senior manager for roads and transportation, said casualty rates would continue to fall as new road safety measures continue to be introduced at blackspots such as Standing Stane Road.
He said: "Looking at Standing Stane Road, for instance, we would never design such a straight road ever again. We would put in bends and humps."