Jim Clark Rally crash deaths: Safety changes outlined
An expert group set up to improve safety at motor sport events has issued guidance for organisers ahead of this weekend's Isle of Mull rally.
The group was established after a crash at the Jim Clark Rally in the Borders in which three spectators were killed.
After the accident, near Coldstream, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill ordered a safety review.
The first recommendations published include an independent safety delegate for each rally.
Better training for marshals and improved safety messages for spectators have also been advised.
The recommendations have already been implemented by organisers of the Isle of Mull rally.
The review followed the death of spectators Iain Provan, 64; Elizabeth Allan, 63; and Len Stern, 71, at the Jim Clark Rally this year.
Earlier at the same event but in a separate incident spectators had been injured - and in February last year Joy Robson, 50, was killed watching the Snowman Rally in the Highlands.
Sports Minister Shona Robison said: "The tragic events at the Jim Clark Rally, and at the Highland Snowman Rally in 2013 where a spectator was also killed, brought the safety of spectators at motor sport events into the spotlight.
"Safety is absolutely integral to staging successful and enjoyable sporting events and all partners need to move forward together to keep people safe.
"Motor sport can never be completely safe.
"However, these initial findings set out clear improvements that can help to prevent tragic accidents."
She said the Scottish government saw the changes as "essential" to allow rallies to continue to take place safely in Scotland.
South of Scotland Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume welcomed the findings.
"People across the Borders and beyond were shocked at the tragic events of this year's Jim Clark Rally, an event which is regarded with great affection as a social staple for local communities and which brings in huge crowds from across Scotland," he said.
"I'm pleased that the interim report acknowledges those points.
"It's vitally important that communities in the Borders and its visitors are able to enjoy the Jim Clark Rally safely.
"The tragic events of this year must never happen again."
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire's Conservative MSP John Lamont said he was pleased the group had avoided a "knee-jerk reaction".
"The tragic deaths at the Jim Clark Rally had a huge impact on the Berwickshire community and it is right that we do everything in our power to prevent another accident like this occurring in the future," he said.
"Clearly some steps can and need to be taken to make spectating as safe as it can be.
"However, as I have said before, I would urge caution against any draconian measures being imposed which would prevent the Jim Clark Rally and others from taking place."
He said he looked forward to seeing the group's final recommendations before the end of the year.
A spokesman for the Jim Clark Rally said they were not in a position to comment at this time.