The phrase “there’s been an accident on the Standing Stane Road” is probably one of the most uttered in our office.
Crashes come at a rate of three or four times a week on the main route between Kirkcaldy and Leven. On occasion, they are serious enough to result in it being closed for a prolonged period of time, causing major disruption elsewhere, including gridlock through the Wemyss villages.
Comments on social media are generally along the lines of the “that road again” or “something needs to be done” variety. And they’re right. But blaming the road is the wrong approach; it’s driver behaviour that really needs to change.
Strictly speaking, most accidents are not accidents at all: they are collisions which could and should have been avoided.
Throwing public money at a problem may ease it but installing safety measures such as traffic lights, roundabouts or a lower speed limit on that route won’t change the fundamental issue.
Most “accidents” are caused by excessive speed, aggressive behaviour behind the wheel or risk taking – or a combination of all three.
And drivers can blame road conditions, equipment failure and even other motorists for accidents but re-examining their own behaviour is often harder to do.
Which is why we need to highlight the importance of initiatives like the Safe Drive Stay Alive roadshow, which has again been delivering hard hitting and thought provoking messages to hundreds of Fife teenagers in the past few weeks.
The show is based around a filmed reconstruction of a road traffic collision and features real life testimonies by serving members of the emergency services.
The most poignant stories are relayed by family members and those who have been affected directly by a road crash.
The message is not sugar coated and neither should it be. And given the rising number of accidents and fatalities we have seen so far this year on Fife’s roads, perhaps it’s time for more adults to be given a reminder of their responsibilities behind the wheel – and not just those about to start taking lessons.
I suspect I’m not the only one who sees risky, high speed overtaking moves on a daily basis on single carriageway routes such as the Standing Stane or the A92, and these idiots need to be called out before the worst happens.
So forget spraying taxpayers’ cash on the wrong things.
Safe Drive Stay Alive should be compulsory viewing for all, and if it means one fewer death on our roads then it would be time and money better spent.