Elaine Russell, former Partner, Irwin Mitchell Scotland and MASS Regional Co-ordinator for Scotland
While the number of people killed and injured on roads across Great Britain has fallen by around 45 per cent in the past decade, the latest figures from the Department for Transport in June of this year showed a disappointing increase in the number of casualties of road traffic accidents.
At MASS we recognise the need for specialist representation for the victims of road traffic accidents and are fully committed to representing our clients. From a professional and personal point of view, I want to see the number of accident victims falling due to the devastating effect road traffic accidents can have on those who are injured and their families. It is imperative that those injured in road traffic accidents have access to appropriate rehabilitation as early intervention can make such a difference to long term outcomes for those seriously injured.
The number of deaths on Britain’s roads in 2014 rose by four per cent from 12 months earlier to 1,774, while a five per cent increase was seen in the number of people seriously injured in road traffic accidents – taking the figure to 22,807.
In terms of specific parts of Britain, perhaps some of the most worrying figures sadly emerged in relation to Scotland. A total of 11,240 casualties north of the border were reported in 2014 with 200 of those being fatalities, which marked a 16 per cent increase from the previous 12-month period.
It also found that the number of people who suffered serious injuries on the roads increased by 22 per cent to 1,694. A notable increase was seen specifically in motorcycle casualties, with 31 fatalities being recorded across the year.
All of this paints an incredibly worrying picture regarding the state of play in Scotland and demonstrates that there remains plenty to be done to ensure that risks on routes are reduced and drivers recognise the importance of putting both their safety and the welfare of others first.
It is clear that the issue of road safety should never be underestimated and, following these figures, it is imperative that road safety authorities react swiftly to improve standards.
Key areas to consider may include examining how they can further improve the promotion of the road safety message and also consider other measures to reduce crashes in locations found to be key hotspots for crashes.
Our work as MASS solicitors representing victims left with serious life-changing injuries and the families of those who have lost loved ones in crashes means we have seen the massive long-term impact that such devastating incidents can have.
In terms of cases where a person is seriously injured, victims often require access to financial support which will help them with rehabilitation and also help them fund other requirements which may include adaptations to properties so they can maintain as much independence as possible.
Behind every road death there is also a family and community left trying to come to terms with their injury and loss, with loved ones often needing support to aid their own emotional well-being and also help them cope in some cases with losing a breadwinner.
With this in mind, it is vital that anyone injured or who has lost a loved one in a road traffic collision does not underestimate the importance of specialist legal support. Solicitors who are members of MASS require to have relevant experience and expertise in dealing with road traffic accidents and can ensure that people whose lives have been irreversibly transformed by road crashes can get the help they require and deserve. It is imperative that those we represent have immediate access to appropriate rehabilitation – I know that if I were injured in a road traffic accident I would want to be represented by a specialist who can make a positive difference, give me and my family support and have the technical expertise to represent my interests.