The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-08077, in the name of Clare Adamson, on road safety week 2017. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.
That the Parliament recognises that the week commencing 20 November 2017 is Road Safety Week; notes that this is an annual event to raise awareness about road safety and was started in 1997 by Brake, a road safety charity that works to prevent road death or injury, campaigns to make streets and communities safer and supports the victims of road crashes; acknowledges that the theme for 2017 is Speed Down Save Lives focussing on the dangers of driving over the speed limit; understands that breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions is recorded by police as a contributory factor in 23% of crash scenes in the UK; notes that the 2017 campaign will also highlight intelligent speed adaptation devices, which it believes are likely to become more prevalent in the future; commends Road Safety Week for promoting steps that everyone can take to stop needless road deaths and injuries year-round; supports the thousands of schools, organisations and communities that are involved in the event each year; welcomes this year’s week, and notes hopes that the event will inspire communities to take action on road safety through promoting lifesaving messages during the week and beyond.
I thank the members from across the chamber who supported my motion and those members who will speak in this evening’s debate. In addition, I thank the charity Brake for its efforts in promoting road safety week and for all its efforts to reduce injuries and deaths on our roads throughout the year.
As I am the convener of the cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament on accident prevention and safety awareness, it has been my pleasure to work with the many charitable organisations—including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents—local authorities, insurance companies and Government agencies that seek to improve safety on our roads.
This year’s campaign is about reducing speed. The speed down save lives campaign focuses on tackling people who drive over the speed limit and asks drivers to consider how fast they are driving in certain situations.
Many of us will remember the harrowing road safety advice advert that featured a little girl explaining the different levels of injury that are sustained at different speeds and the graphic images that formed part of it. That was in 2009—I cannot believe that it was so long ago. The girl explained that the survival rate is 80 per cent for someone who is hit by a vehicle travelling at 30mph and that the rate decreases rapidly the faster the vehicle is driven.
We have moved on from there. The twenty’s plenty campaign has paid dividends in many local authority areas, including my area of North Lanarkshire, in reducing the number of injuries and deaths that are suffered as a result of people being involved in a road traffic accident. The adoption of that approach near schools and in residential streets, in particular, has been beneficial.
Through the road safety framework, the Scottish Government is committed to reducing risk on Scotland’s roads. The mid-term review of the framework, which concluded last year, identified speed, pedestrians and cyclists as priority areas for the activity through to 2020. The Government’s road safety partners have committed to encouraging local authorities to introduce 20mph zones or limits in residential areas and places with a high volume of pedestrians and cyclists, as is set out in the 2015 good practice guide for local authorities. I fully support the Government’s position, but I know that my colleague Mark Ruskell will want to talk about his proposed member’s bill, which would put that into statute.
At this point, I will talk about two of the things that I am most interested in: safety awareness and digital technology. I want to mention some of the modern road safety applications that are now available. This year’s campaign also focuses on intelligent speed adaptations. An ISA is an on-board system that helps a driver to comply with speed limits. Using the global positioning system to connect the vehicle to a digital road map, an advisory ISA advises the driver of the speed limit, while a mandatory ISA can intervene in the operation of the vehicle to reduce its speed and alert the driver to the fact that they are in danger of breaking the limit.
Of course, such systems depend on the availability of a digital road map that accurately reflects the local authority speed limits that have been imposed across Scotland, and I invite the minister to give us an update—if he can—on how Scotland’s development of such a digital map is going.
Intelligent speed adaptations help the driver or rider to maintain road speeds and alert them to their driving behaviour. Like black box technology, ISAs have been proven to improve the driving capabilities of people over time by alerting them to behaviour that might be risky, such as breaking the speed limit, excessive acceleration and excessive braking.
The insurance companies are encouraging support of the technology, especially for new drivers. It can reduce insurance premiums if people are willing to have a black box fitted to their car. It is exciting to note that black box technologies and ISAs can also be rolled out to fleet vehicles, so that the driving of local authority fleets and those of the other major companies that are using our roads is as safe as it can be.
The technology has been trialled across Europe, particularly in Denmark, where it caused a decrease in the average speeds of the people whose vehicles were fitted with the devices. Awareness of the devices being used in particular areas also seemed to have an effect on other drivers. Such devices would improve our road safety and reduce the number of injuries and deaths.
Almost 10,000 people were injured on Scotland’s roads in the 12 months to June 2017. Provisional statistics from the Department for Transport show that 9,864 people were injured and 159 were killed in crashes on Scotland’s roads. We can do a lot to alleviate the problems and prevent such accidents. Anything that can be done should be considered to be a priority, because nothing is more important than the safety of our young vehicle drivers, young people, pedestrians and cyclists on our roads.
I pay tribute not only to the charities that have campaigned for road safety but to those charities that support people who have been bereaved. RoadPeace, for example, is an international charity that supports the families of victims of road traffic accidents. It also campaigns to improve legislation around the world and to highlight the new technologies and information that are out there.
I thank the members who are in the chamber for coming together this evening to discuss this important matter and I look forward to the rest of the debate.
I thank Clare Adamson for bringing the motion to the chamber in recognition of road safety week, which is the country’s biggest road safety event.
I also thank Brake, the road safety charity that is co-ordinating the week’s events.
Speeding is one of the most common causes of road accidents, and the driver’s speed choices are influenced by many factors. They could be running late, they might be overtaking other drivers or trying to keep up with traffic or they might be driving on an empty road at night. They might even be speeding to stay awake.
Although we know that it is difficult to change driver behaviour, it is clear that the best intervention, and the one that is the Scottish Government’s priority, is speed reduction. The theme of this year’s road safety week is speed down save lives, and it focuses on the dangers of driving at more than the speed limit.
A number of effective interventions have been identified in the management or control of vehicle speeds. Setting and enforcing the speed limits are two of the most effective measures. However, recent studies have shown that, in many countries, the introduction of speed limits will have only a short-lived effect on reducing speed unless speed reduction legislation is accompanied by sustained and visible enforcement of the limits. The biggest challenge that we face is how to change driver perceptions of speeding. Inappropriate speed contributes to around 6 per cent of all injury collisions that are reported to the police.
Speeding affects not just road safety but the environment as a result of the high levels of exhaust emissions, traffic noise and fuel consumption, all of which have an enormous impact on the quality of life of people living and working near busy roads. High speeds and large speed variations have a negative effect on each of those factors, so our road safety policy and environmental policy should have much in common. It is imperative that road safety organisations and charities co-operate with environmental groups.
Smart traffic lights are currently being developed in order to reduce vehicle emissions. They combine existing technology with artificial intelligence so that traffic lights communicate with each other and adapt to changing traffic conditions to reduce the amount of time that cars spend idling. Results of a pilot study showed that the amount of time that motorists spent idling at lights was reduced by 40 per cent and that travel times were reduced by 25 per cent. A similar system across Scotland would have a massive benefit not only for the road safety of passengers and drivers, through encouraging motorists to stay within speed limits, but also for the environment.
Scotland’s roads are among the safest in the world; however, there continue to be far too many deaths and serious injuries on them. The safe drive, stay alive campaign recently celebrated 15 years of promoting road safety in Fife with an interactive event hosted at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. The roadshow highlighted the dangers that new and young drivers face on Fife roads and demonstrated to visitors what happens when a person is not in control of their surroundings. Practitioners from all the emergency services were on hand to explain their role in the aftermath of a traffic accident. The importance of such events cannot be overstated, and I welcome the continued work of the campaign.
The effect of speeding traffic on road safety is a major concern and a regular topic of discussion at many community council and tenants and residents association meetings that are held across my constituency. The majority of residents are strongly in favour of extending the 20mph speed limits. However, the limited funding that is available for the introduction of 20mph zone schemes and associated traffic calming features means that the council, like councils across Scotland, must use traffic surveys and accident data to identify sites that would benefit most from the introduction of traffic calming measures.
The majority of pedestrian casualties occur in built-up areas. Cyclists are most vulnerable in built-up areas, with almost half of cyclist deaths and most cyclist casualties occurring on roads in such areas. Reducing speed limits to 20mph goes some way towards balancing the needs of all users. When vehicle speeds are reduced, people are more confident about walking and cycling in their streets, and the number of accidents is drastically reduced.
It is our responsibility as policy makers to produce legislation that promotes economic growth by improving and maintaining infrastructure; to promote social inclusion by connecting remote as well as disadvantaged communities; to invest in public transport and environmentally friendly forms of transportation; and, ultimately, to promote safety measures by reducing the frequency and severity of accidents on our roads.
Clare Adamson for bringing the debate to the chamber, particularly as it takes place during road safety week.
Arguably, the motorcar has defined the modern era. We have had a deep relationship with the internal combustion engine since its introduction over 100 years ago. We all remember our first car, our first new car, our first sports car or even our first luxury car. In my case, I fell in love with three sports cars: Samantha, Clancy and Tiffany. For the petrol heads among you, they were MGs: a TC, a TD2 and a TF.
The car is a wonderful piece of kit. It takes us almost anywhere we want to go, whenever we want. It can store no end of personal possessions—anything from overnight cases to items that partners do not want in the house, including, in my case, croquet clubs, personal music and even disgusting dog blankets. It becomes part of us and reflects our character and pastimes. It keeps us warm, and we hope that it keeps us safe.
As with all relationships, there are responsibilities, and that is where problems can arise. When I was researching material for the debate, I read some harrowing figures. For example, since August, on the A90 alone, there have been 19 collisions, 15 of which involved multiple vehicles. That works out at more than a crash a week, on average, just on one road.
Sadly, such tragedies are not limited to the north, and I am sure that most members have similar stories to tell. Therefore, I am pleased to support road safety week and the work that is being done by Brake to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding. There is a particular problem with young motorists, who are less aware of their own mortality and thus fail to appreciate the risks that are involved with driving.
The root causes of many accidents relate to both the driver’s ability and the road conditions. Far too many roads are extremely narrow and have unexpected bends, many of which are poorly signposted. Such factors can be a recipe for disaster, especially around this time of year.
That is without mentioning the relatively new problems that are caused by people operating and looking at mobile phones or satellite navigation screens while driving. Technology may have advanced significantly over the past few years, but our ability to multitask has not. I am encouraged by the improvements that there have been, in recent years, in the safety features that are installed in cars, and I hope that the trend continues. I believe that technology can help us through things such as the black box, which has been mentioned.
All of that makes the central message of speed down save lives more important. I believe that our driver training should do more to educate drivers on the very real dangers of speeding and the impact and potential consequences that it can have, not just for them but for their families and many others. We have made provision so that older drivers regularly have to prove their ability to drive safely, so there is scope for examining how we can improve standards among younger drivers. We need to look at examples from overseas to achieve that.
Road safety week should remind us that our cars, although very useful, have the potential to be dangerous when not used properly. It is vital for the safety of all road users that we keep our speed to appropriate levels and do not put ourselves, our passengers or others at risk. Speeding is not big and it is not clever—it can be lethal. With that in mind, I gladly support Brake and road safety week, and I wish both success in the days and weeks to come.
I congratulate Clare Adamson on securing the debate and thank her for all the work that she does on accident prevention, particularly through the cross-party group on accident prevention and safety awareness.
Road safety week is arranged annually by the road safety charity Brake, an organisation that does a tremendous amount to educate all road users. Brake is evangelistic about education and road safety and it works diligently with schools, colleges and businesses. As we have heard, the theme of this year’s campaign is speed down save lives. It is designed to educate drivers about the dangers of excessive speed by highlighting the braking distances while driving at 30mph and 35mph, which are two car lengths and three car lengths respectively.
We heard interesting statistics from Clare Adamson about speed, but I will throw another one into the mix. An American study reported on by ProPublica showed that, if a car is travelling at 45mph, any person hit will be killed. At 35mph, the chances of being killed plummet, and half of all elderly pedestrians would survive. If we go down to 20mph, 93 per cent of all people hit would survive. I hope that Mark Ruskell’s proposed members’ bill on that issue is successful, and I hope to support it when it reaches the appropriate stage.
For the past eight years, I have worked closely with Brake on road safety issues along with the road safety group that I set up called the north of Scotland driver awareness team, or NOSDAT. Over an eight-year period, the group has run 24 road safety campaigns, and I am delighted to announce that we have picked up five Brake campaign awards. The primary campaign that I launched was on a proposal to introduce a graduated driving licence scheme for young and new drivers, which I know the Minister for Transport and the Islands has supported. The prompt for me to act was back in early 2010 when, after a double fatal road collision involving two 17-year-olds in the city of Inverness, I was contacted by constituents pleading with me to do whatever I could to raise awareness of driving dangers and threats for young people and to come up with a solution.
As I said, the solution was a graduated driving licence scheme. I did not just pluck that from the air. The campaign was based on the evidence of the well-respected academic Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University, who carried out 10 years of study into Scottish and Welsh road traffic collisions. Dr Jones’s evidence is that, if a graduated driving licence scheme was introduced in Scotland, up to £80 million could be saved to the Scottish economy and, more important, up to 22 lives could be saved per year.
Every week on our roads in Scotland, one young person is killed and 17 young people are seriously injured, many of whom will be permanently disabled or scarred. Speed, bravado, inexperience, night driving, drink, drugs and distracting passengers can all be contributing factors to collisions. The models of the graduated driving licence schemes in America, New Zealand and Australia show that such schemes can save young people’s lives by planning for young drivers. There is no doubt that there is a strong voice in Scotland in support of that form of graduated driving licence. Do we let the death and injury among young drivers continue or do we do more? We need to prevent unnecessary injury, disfigurement and death among our young people and our next generation of drivers.
Unfortunately, we cannot turn the clock back for families who have lost loved ones. However, we can adopt a new, safer, proven driving regime that is aimed at slashing the loss of young people on our roads and preventing the death and injury of our young drivers. Some form of graduated driving licence scheme is the way ahead. Tom Paine, the American revolutionary author, said:
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
That will be the dearest wish of parents who have lost a child.
I join other members in thanking Clare Adamson for bringing the topic for debate. I also thank her and Dave Stewart for the considerable leadership that they bring to the Scottish Parliament on road safety.
I also thank Brake, which does some fantastic education and support work, particularly for families that have been affected by the tragedy of a road accident. As we have heard from members, Brake’s theme this year is speed down save lives. It is one of a number of organisations that support my member’s bill proposal to change the default speed limit in built-up areas from 30mph to 20mph.
I have been running a consultation over the summer, gathering views from individuals throughout Scotland on the bill proposal and how it could be implemented. The figures show that 2,200 people responded and more than 80 per cent are in favour of the proposal. We know through studies into 20mph areas that, post implementation, public support for that speed limit goes up rather than down. Therefore, we have a good basis for me to proceed and ask the Parliament’s permission to introduce a member’s bill.
Reading through some of the responses to that consultation, it is clear that people’s overriding concern is road safety. Many people reflected on the fact that, if we reduce speed by even a modest amount, we can cut the accident rate. In the case of a 1mph reduction, it would be cut by 7 per cent. When I lodged the final bill proposal on Monday, I got a tweet from a constituent who said:
“I was involved in a car crash on Saturday in a 20mph zone. Both cars within speed limit. 6 passengers between us, no-one injured. Probably wouldn’t have said that at 30mph.”
It is clear that reducing speed reduces the number and severity of accidents.
Looking at some of the statistics that the Scottish Government has released, Brake has highlighted that excessive speed was a major factor in 510 accidents in the past year. We need to look again at the real experiences of people who find themselves in that position. I will read out another couple of my bill consultation responses:
“A pupil from my school was knocked down and killed last year on a road with a speed limit of 30mph. I wonder if a 20mph speed limit could have given a very different outcome to this tragic accident.”
Another one says:
“I’m the parent of 2 children who were struck by a vehicle travelling fast in a residential area while they were walking to school with their mother. I think the views of my children and all other children in traffic decisions are woefully under-represented. These decisions have direct impacts on the way they live yet they have no input into this process. If you asked children, they would say that they want a 20mph limit.”
For me, one of the driving purposes of this bill proposal is to support vulnerable road users and the needs of children. I want to ensure that children’s voices are heard if I am given the permission to develop the bill. That is why the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the national health service and many parent councils in Scotland now back the move for a default 20mph limit.
Every fatal accident is an enormous tragedy. I saw the aftermath of a particular tragedy near my community on Friday. A 17-year-old man tragically lost his life between Doune and Callander. It is important that we set an objective of vision zero: that no death is acceptable. That is what we need to work towards. It may require the use of intelligent speed adaptation, a graduated driving licence scheme and many other tools to tackle the issue, but speed limits are an important part of that mix. The United Nations has set 20mph as the global standard on streets where traffic mixes with pedestrians and cyclists. There is an opportunity for Scotland to be progressive and take a global lead but also to follow in the good footsteps of other countries and their cities in designating 20mph as the default—the proper—speed for built-up areas.
I, too, extend my thanks to Clare Adamson for bringing this road safety week debate to the chamber, particularly because the dangers posed by vehicles going too fast affect communities across the country.
In built-up areas across Scotland, streets are frequented by many road users: children, families, cyclists and walkers. On many of those streets, the speed limit is already rightly set at 20mph for the safety of those individuals. Too often, however, cars come barrelling down those roads at extremely high speeds and compromise the safety that the speed limits are meant to maintain.
Road safety week provides the means for individuals, organisations, businesses and MSPs to tackle speeding in their communities head on. In my constituency of Edinburgh Eastern, there is a road that runs past Craigentinny primary school, and I have had reports of vehicles being driven at speeds of between 40mph and 60mph there. That is especially dangerous because the school is next to a busy junction, which pedestrians, including schoolchildren, cross regularly.
Driving at double the speed limit in that area, which is frequented by children crossing the road, is particularly reckless, especially as we know that one in four fatal crashes in the UK involves speeding as a contributory factor. I have already taken several steps in trying to make that particular road safer, including working with the school’s parent-teacher association and a local councillor in order to get a crossing patrol put in. Unfortunately, however, the junction did not meet the criteria for a patrol, so I will now push for either a zebra or pelican crossing instead.
In addition, it is vital to make drivers passing through Craigentinny more aware of the dangers that are posed by speeding. That is why I have reached out to Brake, the road safety charity that started road safety week two decades ago, to organise an anti-speeding campaign in the constituency next Thursday morning. My office and children from Craigentinny primary school will be involved. The idea is for school pupils, teachers and staff to put on a parade. We can have banners instructing drivers with messages such as “No need to speed” and “Speed down save lives”, which, as we have heard, are the official themes for this year’s campaigns. Brake can provide an affable mascot, Zak the zebra, to help reinforce the message that drivers ought to slow down and to make the parade more colourful.
Taking action with a community-led campaign will hopefully bring much-needed awareness to drivers who are going too fast. That is a good reminder of how speeding—and not being able to brake in time as a result—can put innocent people’s lives in danger. I encourage others across Scotland to take anti-speeding campaigns into their communities, to draw attention to an area where speeding might already be a problem.
Thanks to the free support, guidance and campaign materials provided by Brake, curbing the rates of speeding will hopefully have tangible results in our communities. Let us help the communities that we represent to take advantage of those resources so that, just as road safety week envisions, thousands of people across the country take action on road safety. The fact is that speed causes death and serious injuries on our roads. If thousands of people join in with road safety week and bring awareness to thousands of friends, neighbours or strangers, think how many lives could potentially be saved—just by drivers simply remembering to slow down. That is the kind of local action that motivates change. I look forward to playing my part in my small patch of Edinburgh Eastern. I am sure that we will hear about many other successful actions just like that across the country this week.
I join others in thanking Clare Adamson for securing today’s debate on this very important topic. I fully support her motion.
I understand the problem very well from my time as the lead councillor on road safety at Argyll and Bute Council, which, with its large rural area and hundreds of miles of roads, suffers from road safety issues, particularly as a result of its large number of visitors and several single-track roads, which are often populated with Highland cattle, sheep and deer—let alone sightseers taking the odd snap.
It is important that we can change attitudes as to how people act on the roads. I welcome the fact that Brake has been running road safety week for 20 years. In that time, the work of Brake and others has borne fruit, as our roads are now significantly safer than they were when Brake began road safety week. It is vitally important that we ensure that the message of road safety week reaches every part of our communities. I am pleased to see that some police forces have recently offered safe driving advice.
According to the list of participants on the website for road safety week, those involved in the week include
“nurseries, schools, youth clubs, army bases, community campaigners, employers, sports clubs, fire officers, police services, local authorities, paramedics, driving instructors”.
It is a brilliant move to involve young people in the week. Improving young people’s understanding of how they can be safe on the road is vital by itself, but, in addition, young people tend to be good advocates, because they encourage adults to be safe on the roads, too. Anyone who has passed one of the many primary schools where parent-teacher associations have put up home-made signs outside to implore adults to slow down can attest to that. I am well aware of it, because when I get into a car, my son says, “Dad, belt up.”
The support that Brake offers on its website to those taking part in road safety week is to be commended. Many online and physical resources are available to those who want to take part, including a free action pack, fundraising ideas and much more.
Statistics show that, despite the great work of organisations such as Brake and the advances that we have made on road safety, we still face serious issues. For example, in West Dunbartonshire, in my West Scotland region, the number of people seriously injured in road collisions went up by 120 per cent between quarter 1 of 2016-17 and quarter 1 of 2017-18. In Renfrewshire, also in West Scotland, 363 people required medical treatment after an accident in 2016, which is almost one for every day of the year. It is a massive number and one that we must seek to lower.
Those two statistics highlight the need for on-going work on road safety. However, it is probably a battle without an end. As long as people drive, there will always be a need to educate the public on how to stay safe on the roads and, I imagine, a need for road safety week.
I thank Clare Adamson for bringing the motion for debate and everybody who has contributed to the debate. It is a much-needed debate because, as almost all speakers have said, one death on our roads is one too many.
I think that I have spoken before in the chamber about the first time that, as transport minister, I received notification of a fatal accident on the trunk road network—as transport ministers do whenever, unfortunately, there is such an accident. Those are powerful and impactful moments. When there is a fatal accident, not just on the trunk road network but on any road in Scotland, no one in the Government—and, I am sure, no member of this Parliament—takes it lightly. That is because behind every statistic is a human life. Everyone who mentioned a fatality in their constituency or region touched on that. It is not only that an individual unfortunately loses their life; the impact of that loss is felt by their family and friends and the wider community. Even when there is no loss of life, life-altering injuries can have a huge impact. We talk about statistics, and that debate is needed and important in its own right, but we must never forget that behind each of those statistics is a human story.
I am really pleased to hear from members about initiatives that are taking place in their constituencies and regions. I will try to touch on some of those but I will first give a quick overview of the Scottish Government’s framework.
Members have mentioned our road safety framework for 2020, which aims to achieve safer roads. The framework sets out a vision of no fatalities on Scotland’s roads. Although that remains an ambitious target, I want to live in a Scotland where it is achieved, and I imagine that every single member does, too.
That vision is underpinned by challenging casualty reduction targets. I was pleased to see that, at the 2015 milestone, we remained on track to achieve those targets: fatalities had reduced by 42 per cent compared with the 2004 to 2008 baseline figures. However, with 191 people killed on our roads in 2016, there simply cannot be any room for complacency. We must do more.
The Department for Transport recently released statistics that show that we are progressing in the right direction with a reduction in the number of fatalities on our roads in 2017. I should add a caveat: we have not come to the end of the year and unfortunately there is a higher number of casualties on Scottish roads in winter than in other seasons.
The work of the Scottish Government and its partners centres on five framework pillars that are known as the five Es: education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation. I will touch on them briefly, and will try to bring in remarks made by members.
“To be effective, road safety education shall be provided on a systematic and continuous basis in pre-school establishments, primary and secondary schools, within out-of-school activities and places of further education”.
The reason for that is very obvious. We know that attitudes and behaviours are learned from an early age, and I was pleased to hear from Maurice Corry that his son is first to tell him to belt up. That is great; I am sure that he has learnt that from his parents. To ingrain that attitude in our children at a young age can only be to the good for the rest of their lives. Such campaigns will have long-term benefits as well as changing present behaviours.
The Government funds a number of initiatives—I will not go into them for reasons of brevity and time. We keep a close eye on local initiatives as well, many of which are impactful and powerful. They are sometimes graphic, but they need to be to get the message home. We are always looking to see where we can work with local authority partners, which is why it is so important for us to support the Brake road safety week theme of speed down save lives. It reminds drivers to adjust their speed, because we know that it is the single biggest factor in road safety. The next road safety campaign will be the festive drink-driving campaign, which aims to keep people safe during the holiday period.
I will touch on a couple of areas with regard to enforcement. Mark Ruskell has the consultation responses to his proposed member’s bill and has offered to meet me to go over them. I will take him up on that, as there are quite a number of responses and I would like to see them. I understand that they are overwhelmingly positive about the intention behind the bill. I reiterate what I said to him when we met about the matter for the first time: the Government will keep an open mind. We think that there are some practical issues that we will have to work around; they are not necessarily insurmountable, and we will have a conversation to see how the bill can progress. The Scottish Government has guidelines to encourage local authorities to consider 20 mph speed limits in built-up residential areas and around schools. If we can, we should go further—we will explore those issues with Mark Ruskell in the work that he is doing.
I give a nod to David Stewart and graduated driving licence schemes, which he has raised with transport ministers before me and which he continues to raise. He and I are on the same page; perhaps it is worth our having another conversation about how we might try to exert helpful pressure on the United Kingdom Government about those schemes—I will be happy to have that conversation.
I applaud Clare Adamson’s leadership of the cross-party group, not just for lodging the motion but for her other work. She spoke about her other passion—anyone who knows her will know that she has a passion for digital technology, which she mentioned in relation to road safety. The Scottish Government is always keen to trial technology to see where it can have an impact and whether we can then roll it out. Examples include the intelligent road studs at Sheriffhall roundabout, which have significantly reduced lane transgressions and collisions; the speed-responsive traffic signals at Fairlie and Springholm, which have reverse discrimination so that if a car—or, in Springholm, usually a heavy-goods vehicle—goes too fast, the lights go to red; the solar studs on the A1, which better define junctions in the dark; and the new vehicle-activated signs on the A75, which indicate the appropriate speed limit depending on vehicle type. There is a lot of technology, and it often helps to keep our roads safe. We will continue to roll it out where we can.
The Scottish Government and its partners are committed to road safety. We are never complacent about it and I am absolutely resolute in my determination to save lives and meet the ultimate vision that is set out in the framework: that no one is killed on Scotland’s roads. I am very proud of the work that we are doing, but I agree with every member in the chamber that more can and should be done. We will work with our local authority partners to ensure that our roads are safe not just for those who use them now, but for future generations.
Meeting closed at 17:45.