Police are having to remind people how to drive again after a loss of driving skills during lockdown.
Incidents of careless driving have soared across Perth and Kinross since restrictions eased, with an 84% surge in reports.
Officers believe the lack of time spent behind the wheel last year is partly to blame.
Road Policing Officers worked with Road Safety Scotland to create and release educational videos around driving.
They highlight car and motorcycle issues that can arise from a lack of use.
And driving hazards to be aware of after a significant period of not having driven are also featured.
Concerns have been raised over young drivers in particular, with the highly successful Safe Drive, Stay Alive programme forced to stop during Covid.
However, assurances have been made that talks over the initiative’s return are under way.
Why has there been such a sharp rise?
A detailed report on the issue was submitted to Perth and Kinross Council’s Housing and Communities Committee on Wednesday.
According to the report, police detected 72 instances of careless driving during the first quarter of 2021/2022, compared to 39 the previous year.
Police believe the rise in such offences coincides with the emergence of lockdown restrictions across Scotland.
Chief Superintendent Phil Davison said: “That is a period that relates to the gradual emergence out of the significant coronavirus restrictions.
“That undoubtedly makes direct comparisons to the same period the previous year quite challenging as there were quite significant restrictions in place for that same period in 2020.
“And it also, with the easing of restrictions, coincides with the return to more pre-pandemic levels of policing demands and increases in relation to road use, increased visitors to the area and the reopening of the licenced trade. “
What will be done to support young drivers?
There have been calls for the return of Safe Drive, Stay Alive, which provides first-hand accounts of the potentially devastating impact of reckless driving.
Aimed at young people who are taking, or about to take, driving lessons, it is an annual, nationwide in-person event during which speakers and performers make people aware of their responsibilities as drivers.
Scottish Conservative Councillor Caroline Shiers said: “I can completely understand why the format is a challenge in the current circumstances that we find ourselves but equally the messaging that comes from those events, particularly to young drivers at that stage in life, is so important.
“It is something that has a huge impact on the people that attend and the messaging that we need to get across to them at that stage when they’re sitting driving lessons and heading out on the road as new drivers.”
I completely agree that Safe Drive, Stay Alive has been one of the best evaluated education prevention activities that we have done.”
Chief Inspector Graham Binnie
Its return is one police are keen to get under way, with positive discussions already taken place.
Local Area Commander, Chief Inspector Graham Binnie said: “I completely agree that Safe Drive, Stay Alive has been one of the best evaluated education prevention activities that we have done, and I think it gets the messages right and we’ve tried to replicate that in some of our other education programmes.
“I’ve been involved in two or three conversations in the last month where it is absolutely recognised that we need to start again.
“You could speculate that some of the increased speeding figures and concerns about driver behaviour may be motivated by a couple of young people that we’ve missed during the last year so we absolutely have to do that.”
Meanwhile, road safety events will take place in Pitlochry and Aberfeldy later this month to remind Highland Perthshire drivers of safety procedures with winter driving.
Police, the fire service and the council will be involved in the initiative, which aim to restore drivers’ confidence in driving at night and provide information on best practices of driving over the colder months.
What are the consequences of careless driving?
A notable number of careless or dangerous driving cases have been heard in court this year as Covid restrictions eased.
They have left guilty parties subject to punishments including hefty fines and points on their licences.
- In March this year, Lewis Moffat, 23, had nine points imposed on his licence and was fined £1,000 after he put seven of his young friends in hospital by causing two horrific high speed crashes in the space of six months.
- Earlier this month, Marvin Aryeetey was banned from the road for two years and placed on a restriction of liberty curfew for six months after causing a horrific smash on the A9 which left a Scottish war hero out of action.
- Last month, taxi driver Csaba Pasko was fined £300 and had four penalty points imposed after trying to beat traffic by driving the wrong way down the A9.