Average-speed cameras ‘must be installed on A9’
CAMERAS which measure average speeds over distance would be introduced on the A9 to tackle its high death toll under plans being considered by safety chiefs.
The cameras could police a 140-mile section of the road between Dunblane and Inverness, justice secretary Kenny MacAskill told MSPs yesterday.
The move follows a crackdown by police last month, in which 687 motorists were charged for speeding between Perth and Inverness in ten days.
Mr MacAskill said the A9 Safety Group, which includes police, local authorities and the Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland, were examining the feasibility of the system.
The road is currently patrolled by mobile camera vans and police cars.
A 29-mile average speed camera system introduced on the A77 in Ayrshire seven years ago has halved deaths.
A spate of crashes on the A9 has seen six people killed in the past three months, with the death toll reaching more than 60 since 2007.
This has prompted ministers to privately acknowledge swifter action is needed on Scotland’s main north-south road because their £3 billion plan to complete its dualling between Perth and Inverness is not due to be finished until 2025. Much of the route remains single carriageway.
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “The outcome of the A9 Safety Group, which met on 25 July, was to consider a series of actions. One of these is to investigate the case for an average speed system between Dunblane and Inverness.”
Mid-Scotland Conservative MSP and A9 safety campaigner Murdo Fraser applauded the move but said dualling must also be speeded up.
“I welcome all measures to reduce excessive speeds and improve road safety on the A9, Scotland’s most dangerous road,” he said.
“Whilst speed reduction is important, we should not lose sight of the fact that the road configuration, with its continual switches between single and dual carriageway, is a major cause of accidents.
“The priority must be to accelerate the programme to complete the dual carriageway between Perth and Inverness.”
Kathleen Braidwood, road safety officer for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Scotland, said: “We know average speed cameras can have a very positive effect on the behaviour of drivers.”
But the Institute of Advanced Motorists was sceptical about more cameras on the A9.
Policy and research director Neil Greig said: “Many of the crashes are due to misjudged overtaking manoeuvres and problems at junctions rather than out-and-out speeding.
“Such systems are very expensive – on the A77 they cost £750,000 and it would cost a lot more to cover the entire A9 north of Dunblane. The money may be better spent on road improvements to provide more overtaking opportunities and extra police patrols to deal with poor driver behaviour.”
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