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Rise in road collisions

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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Rise in road collisions

ROAD safety measures will continue to be driven forward after the number of collisions almost doubled in Dumfries and Galloway over the past 12 months — with Annandale and Eskdale the worst affected area.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), which leads Dumfries and Galloway Road Safety Partnership, confirmed that there were 97 road traffic accidents across the region in 2021/22 – compared to 51 during the previous 12 months.

Casualty numbers from those accidents also rose from 42 in 2020/21 to 70 in 2021/22.

Breaking down those stats locally, the highest number of road collisions last year were 23 in Annandale North, while Annandale East and Eskdale was next with 18.

The matter was discussed at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s police, fire and rescue sub committee last week, where councillors quizzed Craig McGoldrick, a local senior officer with the SFRS.

Mid and Upper Nithsdale Councillor Tony Berretti said: “Clearly we don’t want road traffic accidents, and you don’t want to go to them. I’ve seen too many of them in my lifetime.

“Is this, in your opinion, due to roads, training, age, conditions? Have you discussed it with other agencies to look at other ways of mitigating these, not just in those two areas but across the whole region?”

Mr McGoldrick replied: “It’s one of the most obvious impacts we’ve seen since we started to come out of covid.

“When you think about the restrictions we lived in, the movements on the road were certainly reduced.

“When you lay that in the context of our own geography, the reason that Annandale and Eskdale tends to stand out is generally attributed to the M74 and the high volumes of traffic.

“So, the number of accidents that happen there are not necessarily related to our communities or those that live within them. It’s the transient driver that’s a risk as well. Yes, it is almost a doubling of incidents over that 12 month period from the previous.”

Referring to the report, he added: “Across the five-year average, it’s probably where we have been.

“This doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels. We should absolutely start to drive and ensure that our road safety partnership is the mechanism where we’re reducing that.”

The fire service, in partnership with other bodies including the police and ferry services, launched a special programme to improve road safety leading up to the North West 200 last month.

This annual motorcycling event in Ireland saw thousands of motorbikes travel through Dumfries and Galloway en route across the water.

“We were able to engage with the best part of 1000 motorcyclists,” said the fire officer. “It’s that type of approach we’d like to build upon.”

The Road Safety Partnership also launched a mobile app ‘Travel Safe D&G’ in February 2022, having received £10,000 in funding from the Scottish Government.

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