Switch Onto Safer Roads

Highlands & islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has highlighted an issue which seems to be occurring just around sunset and also around sunrise with drivers using their vehicles in poor visibility and not displaying their lights.


David said ” I am becoming more and more aware of drivers driving their cars in the twilight without displaying dipped headlights.


” The message is simple, Switch Onto Safer Roads


“You don’t use your dipped headlights just to see where you are going, you need to light up to also be seen. Drivers should not rely on daytime driving lights on new cars as they are illuminated at the front of the vehicle only.There is no point in driving along with daytime running lights only displayed if following vehicles struggle to see you.  I agree that before or around dawn or similarly at dusk or thereabout’ s, drivers can see the road and where they are going, but the light conditions are such that they should be lighting up. Today for example the lighting up times for the Inverness area is 07.55 and 16.05. Stornoway is 08.08 and 16.10,Shetland 0758 and 15.38 and finally Oban 07.55 and 16.15.


” I am appealing to drivers to use their dipped headlights whilst driving in any form of poor visibility. We used to say ‘See and be Seen’ this still applies, as does ‘Switch Onto Safer Road’s. This is the time of year we need to get this message across if we want our roads to be safer.




Lighting up hours are defined as the period of time during which drivers should turn on dipped headlights in order to be seen. This period normally starts half an hour after sunset and ends half an hour before sunrise. However, you do not need to look up the lighting up times to know when to switch on your lights. If your visibility is not 100%clear  then switch them on!


Image may contain: text




Local Politician and road safety campaigner seeks answers to length of time car has been abandoned on A96

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has contacted the trunk road operator, Bear Scotland, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abandoned collision damaged silver Vauxhall Corsa lying on the South verge of the A96 Inverness Road near Gollanfield.

David said ” I am told that this silver Vauxhall Corsa which has been involved in a collision, has been abandoned on the verge of the A96 Inverness – Nairn Road near Gollanfield for in excess of 10 weeks. All road users travelling this route are well aware of the vehicle. My understanding is that such vehicles could be moved at the time of the collision or shortly thereafter by the emergency services at the owners request. In these circumstances the Police for example would initiate the vehicle recovery scheme and the owner/driver would pay for the recovery. However, at the end of the day it is the owners responsibility to arrange removal of the damaged vehicle and not that of the Police.

” I am aware that this vehicle has been in situ for in excess of 10 weeks and I would have thought that in that time it would be classed as abandoned and it would have been removed by the Operating Company as per guidelines.

“I have today made contact with Bear Scotland to ascertain the reason that this vehicle is being left in situ and at the end of the day I would like them to expedite it’s removal from the verge of the A96, as clearly it is unsightly, succumbing to vandalism and giving those resident or visiting the area a bad impression. I understood that bear Scotland could remove the vehicle and claim expenses back from the owner.

David nominates John Macleod for the new £50 note

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Parliamentary Diabetes Champion, David Stewart, is to nominate forgotten Scottish hero as the scientist who should feature on the new Bank of England £50 note after The Bank of England announced that the new £50 note will feature a prominent British scientist, with the public being asked for nominations.

In addition to the Queen, the note will include the portrait of an eminent late scientist from fields such as biology, astronomy and medical research.

David said ” I would like to nominate the late scientist John Macleod, an Aberdonian, who shared the 1923 Nobel Prize with Frederick Banting, a young Canadian physician, for their discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921–1922

“On 8 November 1920, John, the educated Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, met for the first time a young Canadian physician, Frederick Banting. Banting hoped Macleod would help him try out a research idea aimed at isolating the internal secretion of the pancreas. Macleod agreed to take Banting into his department and together they worked on a research plan along with their Assistants. On 3 May 1922, John Macleod read a paper to the American Association of Physicians, co-authored by Banting and called ‘The Effect Produced on Diabetes by Extracts of Pancreas’. The audience, which included America’s leading diabetologists, gave him a standing ovation for the work they had done in isolating the pancreatic hormone that controlled metabolism, which they named ‘insulin’.

“In October 1923 it was announced in Stockholm that Frederick Banting and John Macleod would share the 1923 Nobel Prize for their discovery.

David continued “As some will be aware Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. The cells in your body need sugar for energy.

“Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, diabetes was often a fatal disease.

“Alarmingly one in 20 people in Scotland have diabetes which is now effectively treated by Insulin.

David concluded “As Parliamentary Diabetes Champion this is an issue close to my heart and I think the late John MacLeod, a forgotten medical hero is the perfect nominee to appear on the front of the new £50

David Stewart is supporting the ‘Brake’ road safety theme this road safety week

Highlands and Islands Regional MSP and long time road safety campaigner, David Stewart is supporting the ‘Brake’ road safety theme ‘Bike Smart’ as we near this year’s road safety week, which takes place between 19th and 25h November 2018.

Cyclists and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the UK, with more than 100 riders injured every day in needless, preventable collisions. This is why this year BRAKE the road safety charity are focussing on those that use two wheeled vehicles.
Cycling is one of the healthiest, most environmentally friendly and overall cheapest forms of transport available. The number of people taking to their bikes is increasing year on year so we need to make sure that they can cycle in as safe an environment as possible.
Motorcyclists are disproportionately involved in collisions and the resulting injuries are often severe. The speeds motorcycles can travel are equal to those of cars and yet motorcycle riders do not have equal protection in the event of a collision, such as air bags or side-impact bars, exposing them to the full force of impact. Raising awareness of safe driving behaviour for riders and drivers alike, and therefore limiting motorcycle collisions, is critical to saving lives on UK roads.
“Over the past eight years we at the North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NOSDAT)have as a team and by working with others, made a real difference with regards road safety across the Highlands Islands and Moray.
“We have secured five road safety awards in recognition of our work, had some influence in persuading the UK Government to look again and improve the training of young and new drivers with a pilot Graduated Licence scheme being trialled in Northern Ireland..
“Whilst we worked closely with SCID (Scottish Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers) we have been successful in persuading the Scottish Government to introduce drug driving limits in Scotland and by working in partnership with local businesses, we have launched many other successful local road safety campaigns.

“By working together, we can and will continue to make our roads safer.”

Photo by: Tatiana

MSP stands up for the Highlands and Islands over exemption from Air Departure Tax

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart took the fight to continue the Highlands and Islands exemption to Air Departure Tax to Nicola Sturgeon today.

In Holyrood, he raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions, asking what recent discussions had the Scottish Government had with the European Commission on the tax.

Mr Stewart went on: “The First Minister will be well aware of the calls from some quarters of the aviation industry south of the Highland line to kill off the Highlands & Islands exemption, with potentially damaging consequences for businesses and communities across the region.

“Can the First Minister give Parliament an absolute assurance today that she will resist these misguided demands, and protect the interests of the Highlands and Islands by preserving this vitally important exemption.”

Ms Sturgeon replied that the Government wanted to protect the existing exemption from the tax and had written to the UK Government asking them to notify the exemption for approval to the European Commission, had on-going discussions on the issue, as well as looking at a range of different options to try to solve the problem.

She said actions to date demonstrated that the Scottish Government was absolutely determined to protect the Highlands and Islands exemption.

“I certainly would not support anybody who wanted to kill off that exemption,” she added.

Afterwards, Mr Stewart welcomed the First Minister’s positive reply and stressed that the current exemption for passengers flying from Highlands and Islands airports, meant up to a 16% reduction on some flights to the UK, Europe and beyond.

“This is an extremely important exemption for the region, also making regional routes more viable and sustainable.

“To progress this the Scottish Government needs to have further talks with the UK Government and with the European Commission as a matter of urgency.

“I will continue to stand up for the Highlands and Islands on this one.”

David Stewart, tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament today (31/10/18) acknowledging and commending Gordon and Sandra McKandie for their drive

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and long-time road safety campaigner, David Stewart, tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament today (31/10/18) acknowledging and commending Gordon and Sandra McKandie for their drive, determination motivation and strength in raising funds to purchase defibrillators which have been issued to Police Scotland Roads Policing Units in the North East Division where the medical equipment has already been used 39 times resulting in the saving of a 52 year old man’s life. The family has now raised funds to provide the Highlands and Islands Division with the same equipment. The fundraising is part of the charity they set up called ‘Kierans Legacy’ which is in memory of their 16 year old son who was killed in a road collision back in 2016 near his home in Moray.

 David Stewart said “ I am humbled and at the same time proud to have the opportunity to table a motion in the Scottish Parliament which recognises the charitable work of these two loving parents who have done so much to help save others by purchasing and donating defibrillators to Police Scotland Roads Policing Units. I have been fully aware of this tragic case through my own and my team’s work within the North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NOSDAT). Despite having to grieve for the loss of their son, Gordon and Sandra have found the strength and will to set up this tremendous legacy to their son. It is a truism that is not depleted by repetition that there is no greater tragedy, no greater sorrow and no greater loss than for a parent to lose a child.