Average Speed Cameras on A9 are Working
Controversial average speed cameras on Scotland’s most dangerous road have dramatically cut the number of motorists travelling too fast but journey times have increased, according to the first major analysis of their impact. Transport Scotland found the proportion of drivers exceeding the speed limit on the A9 had dropped from one in three to one in 20 since the cameras were introduced at the end of last October.
Cases of “excessive speeding” where motorists drove at more than 10mph over the speed limit were down 97 per cent, the analysis said, with action being taken against fewer than four per day.
Journey times between Perth and Inverness have increased by up to 17 minutes, although Transport Scotland argued that this could be partly attributed to road works.
The report said it was too early to tell whether the scheme had succeeded in one of its key tasks, to reduce the number of deaths and injuries. But it found no evidence to support warnings by Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a Highlands MP, that drivers would use adjacent roads as “rat runs” to avoid the cameras.
A hundred average speed cameras were installed along a 138-mile stretch of the road between Dunblane and Inverness at a cost of £3 million.
Dozens of people have died on the A9 in recent years, with a disproportionate number of crashes happening on single carriageway sections.
Although the SNP promised in its 2007 manifesto to dual the road between Perth and Inverness, work is not due to start until the 2015/16 financial year and will not be completed until 2025.
Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing at Police Scotland, said the initial results were an “encouraging start”, with action taken against only 298 drivers since last October. He said: “In the first three months of operation we have seen a more than eightfold decrease in the number of people caught speeding on this stretch of road compared with the same time last year when there were 2,493 offences recorded. “It is clear that the cameras are changing driver behaviour in the way that we expected. This will undoubtedly help to make the A9 safer for all road users.”
He added: “Speeding is not the sole cause of collisions on the route and we shall continue to engage positively with those who put themselves and others in danger through risky or illegal driving behaviour. “Safety remains the responsibility of all road users and it is important that we interact appropriately with each other on the A9, and all of the other roads in Scotland.”
Martin Reid, of the Road Haulage Association, said: “Almost universally our members report that the flow of traffic is much improved and that journey times if anything can be slightly shorter.”
Mike MacKenzie, a SNP Highland SNP, hit out at Mr Alexander, who is the Liberal Democrat MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey. He said: “With his assertions plainly unsupported by the evidence, Mr Alexander should now apologise and end his irresponsible opportunism.”