Road safety

The primary aim of the Road Safety Unit is to reduce both numbers and severity of collisions on Aberdeenshire’s road network. Our 2030 road safety plan is currently under review and is in accordance with Transport Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030. Our current road safety plan 2018 - 2020 (pdf 2.76MB) is still available to view. Our road safety team is committed to making our roads and footpath network a safer place for all users. On this page you can find out more about road safety:

View road safety information on the Transport Scotland website including Strategic Road Safety PlanAdditional information and news are also posted by Road Safety North East Scotland on Twitter.

Casualty reduction

We continue to work hard to reduce the number of casualties occurring on our roads. We do that through proactive route risk assessments, engineering mitigation measures, road safety education, safety audits and development of specific routes for use by cyclists and pedestrians.

The number of casualties on north east roads has been significantly reduced since its worse recorded number in 1976, 102 fatalities, which is almost 9 deaths every month. In contrast, in 2019 there were 10 fatalities across the whole year.

In terms of performance, Aberdeenshire accounts for around 5% of Scotland’s population and has over 10% of Scotland’s road network, however in 2019 it accounted for under 4% of all injury casualties across Scotland.

To reach our shared local and national vision of zero road fatalities and serious injuries across Aberdeenshire by 2050, we work in partnership with other organisations and north east local authorities on the Road Safety North East Scotland group.

The strategy aims to achieve the national road casualty reduction targets contained within Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030. The framework identified 10 strategic actions all council areas need to focus on:

  • Speed
  • Active and sustainable travel
  • Climate
  • Knowledge and data analysis
  • Funding and resources
  • Enforcement
  • Change in attitudes and behaviours
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Health

View additional information about road casualty:

Active travel

Our National Government 2030 vision for active travel is for walking or cycling to be the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys. As well as impacting positively on climate change, active and sustainable travel can also have a positive impact on road safety. To facilitate this, we will consider road safety issues and outcomes from the initial concept/design phase.

For further information see:

Roads maintenance

Our roads workers risk their lives daily in carrying out maintenance activities such as strimming, sign cleaning and litter picking. These activities are to the benefit of the road user and are scheduled to proceed in the safest, efficient and most cost-effective way, to create the minimum disruption and inconvenience to road users. Please slow down when approaching any road works and take your litter with you to reduce our staff’s exposure to risk on the road network. You can view a list of all roads works and restrictions across Aberdeenshire and the type of maintenance activities.

Historically from May to September each year we carry out surface dressing across Aberdeenshire. Surface dressing is one of the fastest and economical ways of sealing road defects and improving grip. However, it leaves loose chippings for several days whilst they are properly embedded into the carriageway by passing traffic.

Despite sweeping, these chips can collect in the less used portion of the carriageway for some time and cause hazard to road users particularly two-wheeled, both by reducing grip and stone chips being dislodged and hitting windscreens by vehicles travelling too fast. It is important for your safety, the safety of other road user’s and to prevent damage to vehicles to:

  • Adhere to the temporary reduced speed limits
  • Keep your distance from the vehicle in front
  • Avoid turning or braking sharply
  • Avoid overtaking

Safer roads and roadsides

The Roads Maintenance teams maintain over 5,400km of roads across Aberdeenshire and are fully committed to maintaining and improving the condition of these roads. You can view their progress on their annual road works improvement programme.

The Road Safety Unit works alongside the Road Maintenance teams to ensure a safer driving experience by carrying out proactive assessments of our main arterial routes and routes that have higher than average collision history. By collating detailed road inspection data, it is possible to identify where collisions on these high-risk roads could potentially happen in the future. By creating Safer Roads Investment Plans to target where future investment can be channelled will ensure that the network is being continually improved and the threat of collisions mitigated before they occur. The primary focus is still on areas where there is history of collisions resulting in fatalities or serious injury.

To assist with this approach, Aberdeenshire Council is the first council in Scotland to trial an innovative method developed by the Road Safety Foundation to raise the standard of the world’s roads to a 3 out of 5 star or better standard for all road users and help focus our policy development and investment. This system is called iRAP (International Road Assessment Programme) and is a registered charity whose sole purpose is about saving lives and preventing serious injury.

We will develop an Aberdeenshire risk assessment process building on our experience of using the iRAP as part of other strategies to pro-actively assess the potential for road user risk and collisions before they occur. This technique will help identify high risk locations and how to analyse and prioritise road safety countermeasure treatments for inclusion in routine maintenance, local safety schemes, and planned road upgrades.

The development of the iRAP process will consist of:

  • Road video survey for desktop analysis
  • Review existing road design
  • Analyse data
  • Determine interventions
  • Preparation of suitable investment plans

Route improvement strategies

The Road Safety Unit helps to develop route improvement strategies to target investment where there has been higher than average collisions on a route or a high ratio of casualty numbers to route length. For example, between 2015 to 2019 the A98 and the B977 are our two routes that show the highest collision rate. We will continue to review our routes and prepare route improvement strategies accordingly.

Route improvement strategies should be intuitive; they should be designed in such a way that the driver is fully aware of what driving demands are expected of them and behaves accordingly. These strategies will be reviewed and continually updated as the council works together to take measures to reduce the number of collisions on these routes and make it safer to use by all types of roads users.

Many of these strategies will involve improvements to our road markings and signage, which should be consistent throughout our network of strategic routes. This will lead to a ‘self-explaining’ road system where the consistency reduces driver stress and driver error. These strategies will also include education and social media campaigns. This in turn will lead to a holistic approach to route safety improvements.

Pedestrians

We aim to get more people making active travel choices for short everyday journeys wherever possible, to both improve physical and mental health, as well as the environment.

There has been steady reduction in the numbers of pedestrian casualties over the last few years. Our records show that the majority of casualties are found to be in the 16 and under age group, and that they occur in built-up areas within 30mph limits where pedestrians are generally failing to look properly. So please be vigilant and view advice on walking safety from Road Safety Scotland.

Cyclists

We actively promote the national standard for cycle training through Bikeability, the cycle training programme. These activities aim to improve child cyclists’ control, abilities and cycling safety on the road. We also try and focus on making cycling fun and safe whilst having respect and consideration for others.

Find out more about our cycling initiatives.

A Government Statement from the Transport Secretary on the 4th June 2020 stated that despite fewer people travelling overall during this crisis, there has been around a 100% increase in weekday cycling, and at weekends, that increase has been up to around 200%, compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.

The Council and Transport Scotland are committed to increasing opportunities for cycling both for everyday travel and for leisure. It is a healthy, reliable, flexible and cheap form of transport, with low carbon emissions and Aberdeenshire has many opportunities both on and off-road.

View advice for cyclists:

Motorcyclists

Although the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads has fallen substantially over the last few decades, motorcyclists are still 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants per mile travelled. In Scotland in 2019, motorcyclists made up 1% of the vehicles on the road but 7% of the casualties. In Aberdeenshire of all fatalities on the road network, motorcyclists account for 13%.

View advice for motorcyclists:

Winter road safety

Due to Aberdeenshire being such a geographically diverse area, driving, cycling and walking conditions can vary greatly, particularly during the winter months. We undertake winter maintenance, in order that all road users can complete their journeys safely and minimise delays caused by adverse weather conditions. During the darker winter months, it is critical that:

  • All road users allow extra time for you journey
  • All road users are clearly visible to other road users
  • Drivers ensure that all windows are clear

For further information:

For more information, please contact roadsafety@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.