The number of deaths and serious incidents on one of Scotland’s worst roads for accidents has fallen dramatically since controversial average speed cameras were introduced.
The notorious stretch of the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness saw a fall in the number of serious collisions from 17 to seven in the first year of the new cameras.
The number of deaths fell from eight to six, while 16 fewer people were seriously injured.
Motorists and hauliers have voiced concerns over the 50mph speed cameras on the road amid concerns that locals are being unfairly penalised and could result in more risky overtaking maneouvres.
But the 59 per cent fall in serious casualties - with no-one killed or seriously injured between Dunblane and Perth - has been welcomed by Scottish Government ministers.
The number of ‘fatal and serious accidents’ between Perth and Inverness is also down by almost 45 per cent, according to figures covering the year to October.
More recent figures confirm that the downward trend is continuing with no fatal accidents on the A9 in the second half of last year.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “For the first time since parts of the A9 were upgraded in the 1970s, there were no fatal accidents anywhere on the route from July to December. These improvements are taking place with rising traffic volumes and the continuing use of this nationally important route to support the economy of the Highlands and Islands.
“We are monitoring the performance of the A9 and welcome the figures which indicate that the route continues to perform far more safely than before. ‘Fatal and serious casualties’ have more than halved and there are clear and substantial reductions in fatal casualties both between Perth and Inverness and between Perth and Dunblane.
“Every road death is one too many and that is why we remain steadfastly committed to reducing casualty numbers even further as we continue to work with all our partners to reach our ambitious targets for 2020.”
Police Scotland have also indicated that the latest quarterly data from the average speed camera system continues to demonstrate extremely low numbers of drivers being reported with as few as five drivers a day now breaking the speed limit.
Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston from Police Scotland added: “The reduction in serious and fatal injury collisions on the A9 in the first year following installation of the safety cameras is welcome.”
But he warned: “We can never be complacent and Police Scotland will continue to maintain a visible presence on the A9 to promote safety and positively influence driver behaviour.”