Bad driving sparks road safety campaign

This Youtube clip shows a seatbelt convincer in action.

A MAJOR campaign to improve driving standards in Shetland is being launched by the council and the police in response to recent scare stories on the islands’ roads.

The move comes in response to the explosion of traffic levels on Shetland’s main roads with the influx of oil workers building Total’s new gas plant at Sullom Voe.


Police officers will be carrying out spot checks on the main road between Sumburgh and Sullom Voe throughout September and the council is running short training courses aimed especially at oil workers and council drivers.

The course includes demonstrations of a ‘seatbelt convincer’, where people are strapped into a car seat and slid down a 23 foot trailer to crash at up to 7mph to show how important wearing a seatbelt is.

There will also be reaction testers, checking how quickly people respond and highlighting how much distractions can slow down reaction times.


Shetland Islands Council staff will be training next week, with Petrofac staff following suit at the weekend and BP staff coming on board at the end of September.

SIC road safety officer Elaine Skinley said information packs would be going out to other businesses who employ drivers to get involved, and information will be displayed on ferries and council buildings.

Skinley said councillors had voiced particular concern about overtaking, speeding and dangerous driving.

“This is not just about Sullom Voe workers, it is about the general increase in traffic, but councillors have said they are concerned about standards of driving,” she said, adding that she herself had witnessed people overtaking multiple cars in the face of oncoming buses.


“It’s quite worrying because we are starting to come into winter soon and if it doesn’t improve we could have crashes or worse,” she said.

Lerwick Sheriff Court has seen no examples of dangerous driving from oil workers since they started pouring into the isles this year, with the biggest conviction rate being for locals driving while over the alcohol limit.

SIC convener Malcolm Bell said: “Everyone who uses our roads has a responsibility to drive in a manner which minimises risk to other users.

“As a police officer the hardest job I ever had was breaking bad news to the family of an accident victim. The campaign will help make Shetland’s roads safer which will benefit us all.”