THE tragic deaths on the A9 of Edinburgh mother Abigail Houston and her daughter, Mia, have, once again, brought the issue of road safety sharply into focus.
However, today, something unusual happened: police officers admitted, very publicly, that there is such a thing as a dangerous road.
For years we have heard road safety officials and senior police tell the public there are no dangerous roads.
In December 2011, the then assistant chief constable of Tayside Police, Angela Wilson, said: “There is no such thing as a dangerous road. It’s the drivers that don’t drive to the conditions of the road.”
But today, Chief Superintendent David O’Connor was absolutely clear when he laid the issue of road safety on the A9 at the door of the First Minister.
Ch Supt O’Connor said: “The road needs to be dual carriageway for its entirety. While I welcome the Scottish Government position that work on making the A9 dual carriageway from Perth to Inverness will start early, in 2015 -2016, I have to ask, is this early enough?”
“There have been other major capital investments made across Scotland for sound economic reasons. However, people are continuing to die and be seriously injured on the A9 with depressing frequency.”
He added: “It’s a dangerous road – I try to avoid it.”
In other words, vanity projects such as the Edinburgh Trams and the new Forth crossing are costing hundreds of millions when we could be spending the money on saving lives.
The SNP should be given credit for pushing ahead with a partial dualling of the route. But Ch Supt O’Connor is also right to take the fight to the politicans and ask: is enough being done?
An honest answer to this is the least that the family of Abigail and Mia Houston deserve.