The worlds of rugby, football and Formula One are joining together to urge drivers in Scotland to take care on country roads.
With football and rugby teams at all levels travelling thousands of miles by road each year, fans are being encouraged to follow their teams safely by driving at an appropriate speed for the unpredictable conditions in order to reduce the risks when driving on country roads.
Figures show that country roads account for around 70% of all road fatalities in Scotland, and the campaign from the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland aims to spread the message to drivers, particularly men aged 22-40, across the country.
Transport Minister, Keith Brown, said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Professional Football League and Scottish Rugby are supporting the Country Roads campaign. Given that accidents on country roads are most prevalent amongst males aged 22-40, and football and rugby fans can travel many miles to support their teams, we’re delighted that Scottish sport is getting behind the campaign.
“The campaign is fronted by another Scottish sporting icon, David Coulthard, and gives out the message that you don’t have to be going over the speed limit to be going too fast. Even the best drivers in the world adjust their speed on country roads.
“Country roads account for 70% of all road fatalities in Scotland and while the numbers of road casualties in Scotland are at their lowest ever level, there is still simply no room for complacency. One death on Scotland’s roads is one too many and our focus continues to be on reducing the numbers further.”
Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPFL, said: “We are delighted to support this very worthwhile campaign. One in 48 people in Scotland attend an SPFL match every weekend, from Dumfries and Berwick in the South to Dingwall and Elgin in the North. Fans travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to support their team each season. With over 3.8 million fans going through the turnstiles each season we always want them to arrive safely and enjoy the match.”
Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Operations, Colin Thomson, said: “Many rugby fans travel through rural areas to attend matches either at their local club, at one of the professional teams or to get behind the national team at Murrayfield.
“Players also drive on country roads to attend training or travel to matches and sadly we know of fatalities in recent years in such circumstances.
“We’re asking supporters to travel to the national stadium to get behind the Scotland team for our upcoming Autumn Tests, but we want everyone to get here safely so we felt it was important to spread the message of safe driving on country roads.”
The biggest cause of country road accidents is driving too fast for the conditions and with three out of four of these deaths being men, the Scottish Government hopes the partnership with the SPFL and Scottish Rugby will help change attitudes and behaviours in regard to driving on Scotland’s country roads and reduce the number of fatalities as part of the campaign.
During the month of September, football and rugby fans all over the country will notice campaign messaging in supporter newsletters, on matchdays and heightened activity around selected televised matches.
There were 124 fatalities on country roads in 2010. This fell to 93 in 2011 and 87 in the provisional 2012 figures and it is hoped these partnerships will contribute to a further reduction in avoidable injuries and fatalities.
In addition to the partnership activity, the ad – fronted by Coulthard – will be broadcast on TV and in cinemas with further content rolled out on radio and online. Staff will also be engaging directly with communities across Scotland through an interactive roadshow which features a game where they can test their country road driving skills against the 13-time Grand Prix winner.
For more information, log onto www.dontriskit.info or check out the Road Safety Scotland Facebook page.