In the slow lane

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The biased, distorted analysis of David Spaven to support the cause of rail (Friends of The Scotsman, 31 October) cannot go un-answered.

The cause of accidents on the A9 is a serious public safety issue. From 2006 to 2010 there were 67 fatalities and 1,200 injury-related accidents. Each accident is the subject of intensive forensic police examination with the road closed for prolonged periods while information is gathered.

The analysis of this accumulated data needs to be published so we can all learn from these tragedies.

Spending £2.5 million on average-speed cameras is unlikely to have any effect. Heavy goods vehicles are restricted to 40mph on single carriageway sections of the A9. On the same sections, cars can do 60mph. The likely cause of these accidents is frustrated motorists caught behind slow-moving lorries travelling at their legal speed of 40mph.

The frustration leads them to overtake where they shouldn’t and accidents result. That lorries are the innocent victims in these accidents is not surprising.

Where an accident has taken place, it is probable that both the car and lorry were within their legally allowed speed limit.

What effect will average-speed cameras have in preventing these accidents of frustration?

We need effective road and rail transportation in Scotland. The trial project, “Lifting the Spirit”, to move whisky from Speyside to Central Scotland, should stand on its own merits.

It doesn’t need an emotional attack on road transport and an appeal to keep heavy goods vehicles in the slow lane to bolster the cause for rail. Road and rail have their proper place in an integrated Scottish transport system.

The marketplace should dictate where road or rail offer the more effective service.

John Black

Woodhollow House

Helensburgh

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