Firefighter Iain McGarry is backing a new road safety campaign urging drivers to watch their speed and help save lives.
The devastating consequences of driving too fast on country roads is highlighted in a new campaign from the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland.
Iain (36) has been a trained firefighter for 18 years.
Within the first few years of his career, he attended 10 fatal country road accidents.
On the arrival to one incident, Iain discovered that the individual fatally injured was a good friend of his from school.
All fatalities that Iain has witnessed have had a lasting impact him, hence his decision to support this year’s Country Roads campaign.
“If I close my eyes, I could go back to every single incident that I have had fatalities in,” he said. “People think it’s not going to happen to me. Who says it’s not going to happen to you?
“The most emotional one was a small impact due to speed and they lost control of the car. Unfortunately he was pronounced dead on the scene. So when we turned up there was nothing really much for us to do apart from making the car safe.
“Unfortunately when it came to the time to take off the cover from his body, that’s when I saw him and I recognised him. One of my school friends.
“I asked my gaffer at the time if I could just have a few moments alone, and I zipped up his body bag and passed him on to the undertaker.
“It’s strange, you feel a bit guilty. Because you’re in a job that you’re trying to save people and the fact I turned up there and I couldn’t help my friend was devastating, and then to see the impact that it had on his family.
“I wish I wasn’t here speaking to you about it, I wish I was the firefighter who could retire in 30 odd years and say I’ve never been to a fatality or I’ve never been to a bad car crash.
“That would be great.”
Country roads account for over a half of all fatal accidents on Scotland’s roads (52 per cent). Last year, 649 people were killed or seriously injured whilst driving on country roads and over two thirds of those were men.
The powerful campaign targets male drivers, aged 22-40, who have a higher risk of being involved in a crash.
An emotional TV advert follows a fictional character losing control of his car, and losing his life, on a country road with the strapline: “Don’t miss what’s round the corner. Watch your speed on country roads.”