Highlands and Islands MSP wins award for continued efforts to improve road safety

News from Brake
28th January 2016


David Stewart, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has been awarded the third Scottish Road Safety Parliamentarian Award by the charity Brake and Digby Brown Solicitors. The award is part of a series that recognises the contribution of MSPs to improve road safety within their constituencies and across Scotland. David Stewart’s award is in recognition of his continued campaigning to improve road safety within his constituency, Scotland and also across the United Kingdom.

Mr Stewart, who founded the road safety group NOSDAT (North of Scotland Driver Awareness Team), launched the SMART road safety campaign, focusing on reducing driver distraction during Road Safety Week 2015. Over the course of the week he looked at many aspects of road safety such as raising awareness about poor eyesight among drivers on our roads.

Another key campaign which Mr Stewart has highlighted over the past few months is that of graduated driver licensing. As well as promoting the campaign during Road Safety Week, he met Andrew Jones, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport at Westminster, and Lilian Greenwood, MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, to discuss his graduated licence proposals.

Mr Stewart also lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament recognising the work carried out by Brake throughout the year.

Brake is campaigning to free drivers from the distractions of the modern world that compete for their attention, and allow them to concentrate on safe driving. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #driventodistraction

Gary Rae, Director of Communications and Campaigns, for Brake, the road safety charity, said: " We are delighted to recognise yet another MSP who is playing a vital role in ensuring that road safety is brought to the fore not only in Scotland but across the whole United Kingdom.

"David Stewart’s continued work in highlighting the positives around graduated driver licensing is fantastic to see, especially as he has recently taken his ideas to Westminster to put pressure on the government and the opposition. Despite being a tried and tested way of tackling the issue of young driver deaths, those in Westminster continue to stall on making the changes we need to improve the current system that we have for learner drivers.

"David’s work in other areas of road safety, such as focusing on driver distraction, has also made a huge impact across his constituency and Scotland. We are pleased to give this award to yet another dedicated and passionate road safety campaigner."

Accepting his award, David Stewart, MSP for Highlands and Islands, said: "I am delighted to have won this award, which is an award recognising not only my own efforts, but that of my team, in trying to make sure our roads are safer for all road users. Thanks must also go to the businesses here in the Highlands who have supported my team efforts, including Macrae & Dick car dealership, Stagecoach Bus, Tesco, Tesco Opticians, Mac Signs and Acorn signs, to name but a few.

"One life lost in a road collision is one too many, so we all have a role to play in road safety. Driver behaviour is key. If all drivers could drive to the conditions at the time of driving, adhere to the laws of the road and apply common sense, we would certainly be much better off.

"Finally I must thank Brake as an charitable organisation for all their devoted work in this arena."
Fraser Simpson, partner at Digby Brown Solicitors, added: “As personal injury lawyers, we see first-hand the devastating effect road traffic crashes have on victims and their families. All of us who use the roads can help make them safer and this type of leadership on local road safety issues makes an important contribution to achieving that."

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter, Facebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Digby Brown Solicitors

Digby Brown Solicitors are Scotland’s largest personal injury practices with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkcaldy and Aberdeen. The firm have worked closely with Brake for a number of years, supporting their campaigns on road safety issues and sponsoring the Brake helpline in Scotland. Digby Brown won the Community Contribution Award at both the 2015 and 2014 Scottish Legal Awards in recognition of its work with a Brake and a range of charities throughout Scotland.