Campaign launched to promote safer driving on country roads

Campaign launched to promote safer driving on country roads
A safety campaign aimed at driving down deaths on country roads has earned the backing of Scottish rugby star Stuart Hogg after he lost his best friend in a tragic road accident.

As part of the initiative, a TV advert is to be screened showing a fictional young man losing control of his vehicle on a rural road and eventually losing his life.

It is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of reducing speed on these stretches of road and of how changeable driving conditions on them can be.

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The advert focuses on what victims can miss out on after a serious crash, with a series of mobile and social media notifications popping up while the man is treated by medics, with the strapline: “Don't miss what's round the corner. Watch your speed on country roads.”

Figures show that 649 people were killed or seriously injured while driving on country roads last year, with more than two-thirds of victims male.

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Despite this, the number of such incidents has fallen by more than 100 since 2014.

The advert’s focus on younger drivers could also be significant, as recent research from Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing found that males aged between 17 and 21 are three to four times more likely to crash than men or women in their 70s or over.

In the study, older drivers were found to counteract slower reaction times by taking more care on the road or by choosing to travel at certain time of the day.

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Hogg lost his friend Richard Wilkinson when a car they were both passengers in crash off a Borders road in 2009.

The victim was just 17 at the time and Hogg said the death had a “massive impact” on his life.

He added: “I'm now a dad and play rugby for Scotland, and I know he would be proud of me. I just can't help wishing he was around to share these moments.

“The country roads campaign is so important to me personally and I hope that by speaking about my experience, it will help save other young lives and also honour Richard's memory.”

Interview footage with members of the emergency services also features in the campaign as they talk about how road accidents affect their lives.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “We are committed to achieving safer road travel in Scotland and whilst we have seen a 16% decline in fatalities on country roads in the last year, every life lost is one too many.

“The campaign shows the true consequences of driving at an inappropriate speed on country roads.”

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