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 road safety plan 2021 to 2030 (PDF 2.03MB) has been developed in accordance with Transport Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030. Our road safety plan builds upon the achievements and learnings gained through the delivery of our previous road safety plans and identifies the council’s continued desire to review, demonstrate and share best practice through being an integral part of our local and regional transportation plans.

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 further 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, road 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.

By adopting this vision we aim to achieve 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:

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.

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 of existing infrastructure
  • Review existing road design
  • Analyse road condition and collision data
  • Evaluation of vehicle speeds
  • Determine and design interventions
  • Preparation of practicable investment plans

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 and design phase through to completion and beyond.

For further information see:

Vulnerable road users

Rules for all types of road users have been updated in The Highway Code to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses. It is important that all road users are aware of these changes to reduce confusion over who has right of way and how much space to give pedestrians, cyclists and horse riding road users. Find out more about the changes to the Highway Code.

The Travel Like You Know Them campaign from the Department for Transports explains the reasoning behind the changes in more detail.

ban on pavement, double and dropped kerb parking was introduced in 2023 to improve accessibility, particularly for vulnerable road users.


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.


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:


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:

Older drivers

All age groups need to make sure they are fit to drive in terms of eyesight and other health issues that can affect awareness, reaction times and general driving skills. There has been a concerning trend of elderly drivers in serious and fatal collisions where the collision factors point to driver errors in relation to fitness to drive. We would encourage all drivers to make sure they are fit to drive in all conditions. If you are an older driver, or family member of an older driver, and have any concerns about this, please see the advice for helping older drivers stay safe on roads by Road Safety Scotland.

The council offer a minibus service that can be used by elderly or disabled Aberdeenshire residents, who have no other suitable alternative public transport available to them.

Child car seat safety

The law requires all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle to use the correct child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old (whichever they reach first). After this they must use an adult seat belt. There are very few exceptions.

It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that children under the age of 14 are restrained correctly in accordance with the law. The law is different for buses, coaches and minibuses with seat belts fitted.

Choosing the correct seat, properly fitted, can help prevent or reduce the chance of injury or death in the event of a collision. Things to consider:

  • The benefits of rear facing seats
  • Your child must fit the seat properly
  • The seat must fit any vehicles that you use
  • Both your child and the car seat must be correctly restrained
  • The seat must perform well in crash tests
  • The seat must be approved to the United Nations (UN) regulations (PDF 714KB)

You can identify whether a car seat has been legally approved by checking the label on the seat. They will have a capital E in a circle and one of the regulations: ECE Regulation 44.04 (or R 44.03) or the I-size regulation, R129.

Before you buy do your research. Find out which seats perform best in crash tests. It’s worth paying more to give your child the best protection. Go to a reputable child seat retailer and try different seats in your vehicles. Make your you have the weight and height of your child and all vehicle details. Check if you have ISO fix and top tether points. Also check if your vehicle has underfloor storage. Don’t buy online first without trying seats into your vehicles.

Find out more about child car seats:

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 surface dressing is carried out across Aberdeenshire. Surface dressing is a time efficient and economical way 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

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