ROAD casualties in Scotland have fallen to their lowest level since records began, according to the latest figures that show 35 people a day were killed or injured on the country's roads last year.

The finalised statistics - an update from provisional figures issued by the Scottish Government in the summer - show there were 12,676 casualties in 2012, with only cyclist casualties increasing.

The figure is the lowest since statistics were first compiled in 1947.

Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing at Police Scotland, said: "It is heartening to see such significant reductions in statistics, but it is important to recognise the tragedy that still lies behind the numbers. There is still a lot of work to be done."

A total of 174 people were killed, including two children, down 43% on 10 years ago.

The majority of fatalities were car users, accounting for 73 deaths, followed by pedestrians and motorcyclists (57 and 21 fatalities respectively).

Although the overall number of people knocked down on roads had fallen 4% year-on-year to 1969, the proportion of people killed after being hit by vehicles rose by a third last year, with 57 deaths compared to 43 in 2011.

Keith Irving, head of Living Streets, a campaigning group for pedestrians, said the increase was "very worrying" and called for safer pedestrian crossing and slower traffic speeds in towns and cities. He added: "What is clear from these statistics is pedestrians are still the most vulnerable road users, accounting for two thirds of road deaths in built up areas. National and local government have to recognise that Scotland has the worst record in Europe for pedestrian fatalities in our towns and cities."

Despite the overall decline in casualties, the number of cyclists killed or injured on roads has continued to increase.

The trend partly reflects the growing popularity of the activity, with increasing numbers of people choosing to cycle to and from work. It is estimated the distance travelled by cyclists has increased by almost a quarter over the past decade.

The data shows there were 901 casualties among cyclists last year, up 9% on 2011. The figure includes nine fatalities, against seven in 2011, while 167 riders were seriously injured, up 7% on the previous year.

Road accidents involving young male drivers were also down on the 2004-8 average, while the number of drink-drive crashes has also fallen 43% in 10 years.

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "We must continue working to ensure everyone plays their part to make our roads safer. We have achieved a lot but there is still work to do, particularly on safety issues for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists."