Andrew Fraser, senior accident investigation officer at Falkirk Council and Road Safety GB’s specialist advisor with regard to engineering, has recently retired after a local government career spanning almost 46 years.
A graduate of Heriot-Watt University, Andrew’s lengthy career included posts in various Scottish councils dealing with road and bridge design and maintenance and traffic engineering projects.
In recent years, he served as Road Safety GB’s specialist advisor with regard to road safety engineering, providing help and advice to road safety professionals and members of the public from across the UK.
After a period working in motorway construction in Central Scotland, in 1980 Andrew joined the traffic management section of the Central Regional Council* to work on the relatively new statutory duty requiring councils to study road accidents and take measures to prevent them.
Andrew’s professional interest in accident investigation was ignited in the 1980s when he attended an accident investigation and prevention course delivered by Dick Rainbird and George Jehan.
While still with Central Regional Council, Andrew then led a joint accident investigation unit, formed following the 1996 ‘re-organisation’ of local government. He was then allocated to Falkirk Council when the Regions were disaggregated – ‘unfortunately for the accident reduction effort’, according to Andrew.
He also served on a number of road safety-related working groups including: the former County Surveyors’ Society; the ICE’s Municipal Group (Scotland); the Publication Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ journal; Municipal Engineer; Scotland’s Liaison Group on Accident Statistics; the DfT’s Standing Committee on Accident Statistics; and Road Safety Scotland’s Education Advisory Group.
Andrew says: “The disciplines of statistics, psychology and road engineering, together with constantly evolving computer software, has given me a career which was always interesting and had something new to look forward to.
“I am grateful to Central Regional Council and Falkirk Council for providing opportunities and support – and also to those far-sighted people at Keysoft Solutions, whose early development of software particularly attuned to its local authority clients’ needs was, and continues to be, invaluable.
“My only regret is the apparent resurgence of the ‘blame culture’, manifesting itself in a number of ways and encouraged by perhaps well-meaning individuals in the road safety arena who appear to believe that the solution is meting out ever heavier punishments to those they consider to have offended.”
To emphasise this point, Andrew cites the words of Sir Alker Tripp, former assistant commissioner of the Met Police who, as far back as 1942, said: “Nothing should ever be done by means of legal restrictions which it is practicable to effect by layout: this principle must be regarded from the outset as an axiom of traffic science.
“To restrict movement by law and police is likely to be both irksome and inefficient, whereas guidance by layout and mechanical equipment is efficient and, generally speaking, congenial.”
*Central region was a local government region of Scotland from 1975 to 1996.