TRANSPORT: Road deaths lowest for 50 years

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Deaths on Scotland's roads are at their lowest level for at least 50 years, according to Government figures published yesterday.

Last year, 357 people were killed in road accidents, said the 1996 Road Accident Statistics bulletin.

The bulletin also shows that 4,033 people were seriously hurt - again the lowest number since current records began.

The Scottish Office said the figures continued a long-term downward trend in the number of fatalities.

Malcolm Chisholm, the transport minister, welcomed the figures but said there were still too many accidents, causing pain and suffering.

"I am very pleased indeed to see that the figures show a clear long-term downward trend in the number of people killed or injured on our roads," he said.

In an effort to stem drug-driving, Strathclyde police announced yesterday that they would be conducting a study into the growing problem. It will draw on the experience of officers and police surgeons. Drivers will also be stopped and asked a series of questions before performing writing, physical and memory exercises although no charges will be pressed.