Sister of crash victim backs rural road safety campaign

The sister of a teenager killed in a crash on a country road is backing a new campaign urging drivers to slow down on rural routes.

Claire MacKenzie's brother Scott died aged 17 when he was a passenger in a car which was being driven too fast and crashed on a bend in Caithness in December 2008.

The driver was jailed for two years and eight months and banned from driving for 10 years.

A new Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland campaign film uses 360 degree technology to position the viewer as the driver in a car and highlights many of the unexpected hazards on country roads that can turn a familiar journey into a potentially fatal one.

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Six in 10 road deaths in Scotland occur on country routes. In 2016 - the latest year for which figures are available - 789 people were killed or seriously injured while driving in rural areas.

Ms Mackenzie, 36, from Wick, is urging people to think twice about driving too fast.

The mother of two said: "It didn't sink in that he was actually gone. He had just been going on a night out like any other 17-year-old, and it was impossible to believe we'd never see him again.

"Seeing how it destroyed my parents added to the trauma, and no matter what I did, there was nothing I could do to relieve their agony.

"As we approach the 10-year anniversary of Scott's death, I look at his friends who are now married and have kids and it pains me to think that Scott isn't still here and able to enjoy his own life too.

"The driver didn't go out with the intention to kill my brother, but he did. Think before you put your foot down because nobody ever wants to have that knock on their door to say a loved one isn't coming home."

Claire MacKenzie whose brother Scott was killed in a road crash aged 17 (Gareth Allcock/YRS Photography/PA)
Claire MacKenzie whose brother Scott was killed in a road crash aged 17 (Gareth Allcock/YRS Photography/PA)

Half of all drivers killed or seriously injured on country roads are aged between 22 and 49, according to latest figures.

The film will be toured around the country as a virtual reality experience and the campaign will be supported with digital, social media, outdoor and radio advertising.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "Every life lost on a country road is one too many. This campaign shows the true consequences of driving at an inappropriate speed on country roads.

"No matter how well you know the route, it's crucial to prepare for the unexpected and drivers need to realise they aren't invincible and that it could happen to them.

"We want every driver in Scotland, particularly young men, to consider their actions and drive at an appropriate speed for the road conditions."