Drugs a top ten factor in Fife road crashes for first time, report reveals

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Child casualties in car crashes in Fife increased in 2022, and drugs made the list of top ten contributing factors to the collisions for the first time.

The information came in a roads and transportation service report for the environment, transportation and climate change scrutiny committee which was held this week.

The overall figures showed a long-term decline in the overall number of casualties despite a rise from a record low in 2021.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, Councillor Darren Watt (Conservative), said road safety remains a huge concern across Fife, and said it is one of his biggest case loads as a council member.

Figures have shown that drugs were a factor in some road crashes in Fife last yearFigures have shown that drugs were a factor in some road crashes in Fife last year
Figures have shown that drugs were a factor in some road crashes in Fife last year

“I personally don’t think interventions are enough,” he said. “At the end of the day I think we have an obligation to educate and encourage drivers to behave more responsibly. We can only do so much, especially if they’re impaired by drugs or other factors but we still have a huge obligation to do what we can to make roads as safe as possible.”

Child casualties:

According to the report, the number of child casualties increased in all classes when comparing 2022 to the year before, but remained below the level of recent previous years.

In 2022, one fatal child casualty was reported alongside eight serious casualties and 27 slight injuries.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder (Lib-Dem) was particularly saddened by the statistics, and questioned the factors at play.

A council officer said: “I think we would all agree that the desire to drive numbers down is particularly prevalent in this category. The number of crashes involving journeys to school is very, very small. The vast majority of child casualties happen within residential streets in early evening periods and weekends.”

This, according to officers, is one of many reasons behind the drive for 20mph residential speed limits.

Top ten causes:

It was good and bad news for Fife when it comes to the top ten contributing crash factors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alcohol didn’t make the top ten causes of car crashes list - which is a first. However, drugs took their place on the list.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen drugs appear in the top ten causes of crashes in Fife,” a council officer told committee members on Tuesday.

According to data from Police Scotland, “impaired by drugs” was a contributory factor for four percent of crashes in 2022.

Although councillors were concerned by the sudden appearance of drugs on the chart, it is among the bottom of the pack.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The majority of local car crashes in 2022 could be put down to bad driving.

“My greatest concern is that well over 50% of contributing factors can be put under the heading of bad driving,” said Councillor Allan Knox (Lib-Dem)

“We spend a lot of money looking at engineering things to prevent accidents, but if 50% are caused by bad driving. Maybe we need to focus on drivers themselves to improve the quality of people driving on the road.”

The five biggest contributing factors were listed as: driver failed to look (26%); carelessness/recklessness (14%); failed to judge other person’s path or speed (13%); loss of control (9%); and poor turn or manoeuvre (7%).