The fall in the number of serious and fatal injuries in road accidents in Scotland may, in part, be attributable to the strong levels of devolution in the country, according to motoring charity The RAC Foundation.
The figures would certainly seem to support this assertion. For example, in Wales, where there is only limited devolution, the number of serious and fatal injuries fell by only 15% in 2013; in comparison the numbers of serious and fatal injuries in the same period fell by 35% in Northern Ireland and 33% in Scotland.
Scottish Parliament has a great deal of scope when it comes to road safety matters and is able to set both national speed limits and drink driving limits. While Northern Ireland has a fully devolved road safety programme, Wales has only limited powers in relation to road safety.
"The UK risks breaking apart in terms of road safety policy with different administrations having varying levels of power, funding and political will to deal with death and injury on the highways," commented Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation. He added that road users across the UK "have a right to know" that their safety is considered to be equal to that of other UK citizens, wherever they are across the country.
The UK government hopes to achieve a UK-side reduction in serious and fatal road accident injuries of 40% (based on figures for 2005); however, it is clear that more (and perhaps more devolution) needs to be achieved in Wales before it can make the kind of progress currently recorded in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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