By Steph Brawn and Annie Gouk


THE number of people killed or severely injured on Inverclyde’s roads shot up between 2018 and 2019.

Figures from the Department for Transport show serious road casualties went up from 17 in 2018, to 31 in 2019.

Last year’s total included one death and 30 injuries serious enough for the person to be admitted to hospital or need treatment for the likes of fractures or burns.

Overall casualties also went up by more than 50 per cent during the period, from 95 in 2018 to 144 last year.

The statistics show people in cars accounted for 104 of all casualties in Inverclyde last year.

However, Chief Inspector Jim Cast –  area commander for the Renfrewshire and Inverclyde police division – said the Covid-19 lockdown had led to an improvement in the situation in 2020.

Serious injuries on the roads across the two regions went down by almost a third when comparing the April to September periods in 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, there was a significant drop in slight injuries of 63 per cent between the two periods.

Ch Insp Cast said: “Road safety remains a priority for us across Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

“We continue to work with our roads policing colleagues and the local authorities on many action plans to target drivers and locations that contribute to road crashes.

“Year-to-date figures on dangerous driving are down by 4.3 per cent and speeding  down by 14.8 per cent.

"The introduction of drug wipes has been very effective and helped us to detect 230 offenders for drink and drug driving so far this fiscal year – a massive increase of 76.9 per cent.

"This alone will have a significant positive impact on the number of road casualties in the future.

“The figures are all, of course, impacted by the lockdown.

"There have been massive restrictions on movements and far less people on the roads during entire months, which must have contributed, but to what extent exactly is difficult to say.”

Road safety charity Brake has stressed there are not enough measures being brought in by local authorities to improve walking and cycling opportunities, and bosses have called for the urgent introduction of 20mph default speed limits in towns and cities.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “The tragic circumstances of the pandemic created a unique opportunity to seize the initiative on road safety, with more people walking and cycling and quiet roads, ready for change.

“Whilst some measures to improve cycling and walking have been introduced it has not been nearly enough and the increase in traffic levels, post-lockdown, indicates that this opportunity for lasting change has been squandered.

“We urgently need 20mph default speed limits in towns and cities, zero tolerance limits for drink-driving and, most of all, a coherent and holistic approach to managing safety on our roads, with targets to eliminate death and serious injury for good.”