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National Indicator: Deaths on Scotland's Roads

Please note that this indicator is a part of the old National Performance Framework. It is no longer being reported on in the new National Performance Framework. The new framework can be found here:


d Reduce deaths on Scotland's roads

Indicator Measure
The number of people killed in road accidents reported to the police

Current Status
There were 191 people killed in road accidents in 2016, 23 or 14% more than in 2015. The longer term trend shows a general decrease in the number of people killed in road accidents in Scotland, down 35% from an average of 292 in the baseline period (2004-08).

1994 to 2016

Source: Transport Scotland
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 19 June 2017
Next Update: June 2018

Reduce deaths on Scotland’s roads

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
What more do we know about this National Indicator?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Road Safety is an issue that affects everyone in Scotland. We all need to use the roads to get around - to school, to work, to the shops. Most of us use the roads every day as drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians and for many people driving is the main part of their job. It is essential therefore to ensure that, as far as possible, we can all use the roads in safety. Road accidents in which people are killed or injured result in high social and economic costs including a devastating impact on families, human pain and suffering, damage to vehicles and property, loss of productivity, demands on the emergency services as well as medical and insurance costs.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Advances in engineering both in vehicle and roads technology will help towards reduction in fatalities. This must also be combined with positive road user behaviour which can be influenced through education and enforcement activities.

The areas of highest risk - including drink driving, seatbelts, speed and rural roads and the most vulnerable groups including drivers aged 17 to 25, motorcyclists and pedestrians need to be tackled.

Sharing intelligence and best practice has been identified as a key driver for success. The national Scottish targets are cross cutting, relying on partnership working for delivery. Scotland's Road Safety Framework to 2020 contains 96 commitments which fall under the traditional road safety heading of engineering, enforcement and education plus encouragement for positive road safety behaviours and evaluation of what works to reduce road casualties.

Leadership is also key. As well as being a Ministerial priority, the police have identified casualty reduction as a very high priority for all Scottish forces and Road Safety forms a Statutory Responsibility for Local Authorities. The number of people killed and seriously injured on Scotland's roads are included in the Improvement Service menu of Local Outcome Indicators.

What is the Government's role?

The Scottish Government published Scotland's Road Safety Framework to 2020 (Go Safe on Scotland's Roads - it's Everyone's Responsibility) in June 2009. It sets out a high level strategy for road safety in Scotland and prioritises the riskiest activities on Scotland's roads and the most vulnerable groups. It also sets out Scotland's first ever national casualty reduction targets: to reduce deaths by 40% (50% for children under 16) and serious injuries by 55% (65% for children under 16) by 2020. The Scottish Government has also set milestone reductions for 2015. These are to reduce deaths by 30% (35% for under 16's) and serious injuries by 43% (50% for under 16's). The Framework vision states there will be "A steady reduction in the numbers of those killed and those seriously injured, with the ultimate vision of a future where no-one is killed on Scotland's roads, and the injury rate is much reduced."

How is Scotland performing?

The latest figure of 191 people killed in 2016 is an increase of 23 or 14% compared with 168 people killed in 2015. There has been a general longer term downward trend; the 2016 figure shows a 35% reduction on the 2004-08 average (292 people killed). This baseline is used when assessing progress towards 2020 targets contained within Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020.

Note: Progress against the target for children killed is measured using a three year average due to the low numbers and to smooth out some of the year to year fluctuation.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this National Indicator?

In 2016 male fatalities rose by 10, 8% (to 134). Female fatalities rose by 13, 30% (to 57).

The number of fatalities in urban areas decreased by 11% from 47 in 2015 to 42 in 2016, while fatalities in rural areas increased by 23% from 121 to 149 over the same period.

Fatalities amongst those aged 16-34 rose by 47% from 51 in 2015 to 75 in 2016. Other age groups (35-49, 50-64, and 65+) saw declines over the same period.

Further analysis of road accidents and casualty data for 2016 will be published in Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2016, to be published by Transport Scotland in October 2017.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

Any decrease in the number of people killed on Scotland's roads compared to the previous year's figure suggests that the position is improving; whereas any increase suggests the position is worsening. If there is no change then this will result in a performance maintaining arrow.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Cycling Scotland

Fire Brigades

Local Authorities

Motoring Groups

NHS Boards

Police Forces

Road Users

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)


Transport Scotland

Related Strategic Objectives

Safer and Stronger


View National Indicator data

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Title:Reduce deaths on Scotland’s roads
Description:Reduce deaths on Scotland’s roads
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