STRUAN Stevenson’s article ("Police and drivers need to do more to keep our roads open", The Herald, October 24) reminded me of some difficult conversations I had with a former chief constable when I worked in road policing: “Why is that road not open yet?”

National road policing functions were redesigned during police reform to provide effective emergency response to trunk roads (and motorways) including forensic collision investigation capabilities. Daily teleconferences with area commanders focus on incidents during the previous 24 hours, particularly those that led to road closures. The sergeant/inspector always submits a report including the timeline and challenges encountered. Whenever possible, elements of scene management tasks are conducted in parallel sequence from initial attendance to recovery, and regarding the community impacts. When delays occur, pressures mount on officers at the scene with questions asked by Transport Scotland and the public.

Significant investment by Transport Scotland has delivered many laser scanning sets for collision investigation, shaving minutes off the total time for vital evidence gathering, but such devices aren’t reliable in adverse weather and investigators must revert to established methods, including fingertip searches. The pieces must, literally, be picked up.

Occasionally, a senior investigating officer (SIO) may decide to not deploy collision investigation when CCTV footage of the incident is recovered from dashcams or public space systems. But even when a fatal RTC involves a single vehicle and the casualty is the driver/rider, it is still investigated thoroughly to answer those grieving, “why did this happen?”

The scene of a fatal or serious injury RTC is often complex. Transhipment of goods from an overturned HGV can take hours as can the dignified removal of the deceased by compassionate firefighters and undertakers. The physical recovery of smashed vehicles becomes prolonged due to factors such as the extent of entanglement, fallen powerlines or a steep embankment to negotiate, requiring the specialist vehicle removal operators: Simply dragging vehicles to one side may further damage the road surface already contaminated with corrosive fluids. But when appropriate, screens are deployed by road operators to protect the scene and allow backlogs of standing traffic to clear safely; no "rubbernecking" please.

Please believe me, it’s frustrating being on scene for many hours, in foul weather or being eaten by midges. Road policing officers are as keen as those delayed and inconvenienced to get the road open again so that their investigative work can continue, likely for weeks to come, and most sadly beginning with delivery of a death message.

On the other pertinent matters raised by Mr Stevenson, driving standards and road safety policy, it is perhaps for partners at Road Safety Scotland, the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the like to offer their thoughts on the plans for the next decade of policy delivered through the hard work and dedication of those who care about keeping Scotland safely moving. They are remarkably dedicated people as are the police officers I was privileged to lead. I can only repeat what I said often when wearing my white hat: Please go safe, it’s everyone’s responsibility.

Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, President, The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, Tulliallan.