The Executive is investing in road improvements targeted on accident black spots. We are also funding road safety programmes, such as the foolsspeed and Christmas drink driving campaigns, and safer road projects, such as safer routes to school and home zones. We are supporting tougher enforcement by the police, for example to stop drivers using hand-held mobile telephones, which is illegal and irresponsible and costs lives.
I welcome the measures that the minister outlined. Does he agree that elderly pedestrians can be particularly vulnerable, given that they could have sight, mobility and hearing problems? Will he consider running a road safety awareness campaign to encourage drivers to recognise the specific difficulties that elderly and disabled pedestrians face?
I thank Irene Oldfather for that suggestion. She has raised with me the recent tragic incident involving an elderly person in Ayrshire, so I am aware of that sad case. I will certainly raise her suggestion with the Scottish Road Safety Campaign and encourage local authorities to consider what measures they can take, particularly in areas where there are a significant number of elderly people. I will also raise with trunk roads officials in the Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department the issue of dangers and points on the trunk road network where we might be able to take action that would assist elderly people or people with disabilities.
Does the minister agree that we live in one of the gloomiest countries in the world at this time of year, when darkness descends in the early afternoon? Is he as surprised as I am at the number of drivers who persist in driving along roads such as the A82 with no headlights in half-darkness, fog or even snow? Will he adopt the Scandinavian model of having drivers use dipped headlights at all times and advocate that as part of a road safety campaign?
I am pretty sure that it is not, Presiding Officer. Much of the gloom tends to
We have a proper strategy for road traffic reduction. We have an ambitious target to reduce road traffic levels by 2021. We are determined to achieve that target through the most ambitious investment programme in public transport initiatives that we have seen for decades. That is why we are committing to new bus, rail and tram projects and extra investment in our ferry services. That package of measures, which is targeted on improving public transport, will transform our public transport infrastructure over the coming years.
Speed cameras can be very effective. For example, when the grade-separated junctions were introduced on the section of the A90 at Forfar—the Forfar bypass—safety cameras were in place throughout the road works and were welcomed by the local community and all sensible motorists. Correctly positioned safety cameras can help to protect drivers, passengers and the local community and all the surveys show that they have strong local support. I would like to ensure that, when new safety cameras are introduced, there is always a strong safety case and an open and public account of why they are being introduced. I have no doubt that I will recommend further safety cameras in appropriate locations, where they can help to reduce the toll of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
The minister made a comment about how people on this side of the chamber can be gloomy every so often. I was cheerful when his predecessor announced that there would be an improvement to the Ballinluig road junctions to tackle that accident black spot. However, I was less than happy when I
I understand John Swinney's concern and I, too, want to ensure that the project goes ahead as quickly as possible. I had meetings with officials following the commitment that I gave John Swinney in the chamber recently. The project is complex and involves two crossings of the railway line as it passes through Ballinluig, but I am determined to move forward with it as quickly as possible. I had an assurance from officials that work is being done on the detail of the project, based on the new consultancy contract. The draft orders will be published in the spring and I want to move forward as quickly as possible after that, I hope without a public inquiry, to ensure that the scheme is built.