2006-01-31

Stats & Health: Riskiest Time of Day To Drive

Motorists driving in the late afternoon are nearly twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident than at any other time. A four-year study of accident statistics has found that the most dangerous time to be on the road is between 16:00 and 18:00, when drivers are twice as likely to be killed. The survey, conducted by 'Lothian and Borders Police', found 29 fatal collisions happened in the force area during the two-hour slot over the four years to last year 2005, almost double that of any other two-hour period. The figures were published yesterday, at the start of a month-long road-safety campaign, in which police patrols will be stepped up during peak hours. The move follows the force failing to meet Scottish Executive road accident reduction targets. A total of 419 people were killed or seriously injured on the force area's roads between 2005-04 and 2005-12 -- 15 per cent above the target of 365. Road deaths were up two, to 29, while serious injuries increased from 334 to 390. Officers are particularly concerned about casualty rates on main roads in Midlothian and the Borders, including the A1. Patrols will be looking out for speeding and careless driving, videotaping such manoeuvres and playing the recordings back to errant motorists. They will focus on the morning and evening peaks, from 07:00/09:00 and 16:00/18:00. Chief Inspector Mr.Sandy Allan, of the traffic department, said:
'After seeing these figures, we decided a hard-hitting road-safety initiative was needed to highlight the dangers of careless driving and speeding, particularly those drivers heading home at the end of a working day. 'Traffic officers will be maintaining a high-visibility presence on the roads for the next four weeks, stopping careless motorists and showing them footage of their driving, and the impact that could have on their lives if they should crash,' the officer added. 'Midlothian and the Borders are particular areas of concern. The main roads through these areas, including the A1, are highlighted as being particularly high in road casualties and deaths. 'While a great deal of work has been done, it's clear that we needed to vary our approach by putting more officers on the roads at peak times.'
The Head of Policy in Scotland for the AA Motoring Trust Mr.Neil Greig welcomed the new 'clampdown'. He said:
'High-visibility policing is a very good ide; we know that police presence is a determining factor on how people drive and how likely they are to speed. 'Drivers are simply more careful when they know there are police cars around. 'Telling drivers, especially younger ones, that road accidents will kill them often does not seem real to them. It may seem selfish to focus on the cost, guilt or hassle involved in a crash, but it may be more effective. 'Few will ever see a fatal car crash, so you are appealing to things they can more easily imagine.'
The figures come two weeks after 'The Scottish Safety Camera Partnership', which oversees speed and traffic-light cameras, reported that accidents increase by nearly one-fifth on Friday afternoons. Analysts believe the rise is associated with speeding home for the weekend. Figures published by 'The Scottish Executive' yesterday confirmed provisional statistics 2005/2006 that road deaths in Scotland in 2004 fell to their second-lowest level for 50 years -- 306 -- although this was two more than in 2002. The number of children killed or seriously injured more than halved, compared with 1994/1998 averages, to 383. 'Afternoon rush-hour road deaths prompt speeding crackdown', Alastair Dalton, The Scotsman, 2006-01-31

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