Highlands & Islands

Soldiers home from Afghanistan warned of crash risk

Soldiers in Afghanistan
Image caption Soldiers drive under different conditions while on operations from what they would in the UK

Hundreds of soldiers have been given road safety advice following their return to Scotland after six months serving in Afghanistan.

The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 Scots), arrived back last week.

Police said soldiers returning from tours were "vulnerable" to accidents because of months spent driving under starkly different conditions.

About 500 personnel were given advice at Fort George, near Inverness.

Capt Alec Rose said soldiers faced making adjustments to how they drive.

While on operations, military personnel drive at slower speeds, or on the other side of the road, or have been driving larger, slower military vehicles for several months.

Capt Rose said: "The battalion has completed a long and arduous, but ultimately long and successful six month deployment in Afghanistan.

"Before heading off on their well earned post operational leave I felt it would be beneficial to give the battalion a reminder of the dangers and also the responsibilities of driving on the UK road network.

"It would be incomprehensible for a soldier to have survived his tour in Afghanistan, only to succumb to a road traffic collision and the impact that would have on their family and indeed the battalion."

He added: "Hopefully this event, kindly provided to us by Northern Constabulary, in conjunction with the MoD Police, will give everyone a timely reminder of the need to drive safely and considerately."

Insp Derek Paterson, head of Northern Constabulary's road policing unit, welcomed the Army's support for road safety.

He said: "It is pleasing to see them providing their troops with vital road safety information, including the risks and consequences of being involved in activity such as speeding and drink driving."

According to Army statistics, 52 off-duty and nine on-duty soldiers died in UK road accidents in 2006.

In 2007, the figures were 38 and 14, 22 and seven in 2008, 27 and one on-duty soldier in 2009 and 28 and nine in 2010.

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