MORE than half of motorists using the A9 admitted speeding on the road but only 10 per cent believe the controversial introduction of average-speed cameras will make the 140-mile stretch safer, a new poll has found.
The survey revealed that more than half of the drivers fear the devices currently being introduced will lead to an increase in tailgating, longer journey times and greater driver frustration.
The cameras will come into operation between Inverness and Dunblane in October. But only one in 10 of the drivers questioned in the poll believes the cameras will cut accidents.
The survey, carried out by pollsters Aecom and commissioned by Transport Scotland, revealed that 20 per cent of motorists admitted to travelling at 15mph or more above the legal limit either “occasionally” or “frequently”, and 38 per cent said they had driven at 10mph or more above the limit.
Most drivers – 54 per cent – admitted they had broken the speed limit by 3mph or more.
A quarter confessed to using a mobile phone while driving on the A9, while 55 per cent said they felt unsafe due to the actions of other road users.
The poll saw 296 locals who had driven on the road in the previous 24 hours interviewed between 26 April and 9 May.
A spokeswoman for the road safety charity Brake said: “It’s shocking to see that many drivers on the A9 have such disregard for the speed limit and the catastrophic consequences speeding can have.
“Speed limits are in place for a reason and breaking them, even by a small amount, needlessly puts lives at risk.”
But campaigners are calling on transport minister Keith Brown to drop the project.
Mike Burns, of the A9 Average Speed Cameras Are Not the Answer campaign, said: “My message to the transport minister is ‘take them down, Mr Brown’ because there’s no argument left for them any more.”
Highland MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has said the money would be better spent on contributing to the road dualling project.
The Scottish Government plans to dual the 80 miles of the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025 at a cost of around £3 billion.
Mr Brown said: “Before and after studies of other average-speed camera sites in the UK show a reduction in accidents.
“On average, they achieved a 61 per cent reduction in fatal and serious accidents.”
He added: “Average-speed cameras encourage drivers to improve their behaviour and we are already seeing this on the A9 where the number of people speeding is falling.
“It indicates that we are heading in the right direction with our plans which focus on engineering and enforcement.”
The mix of single and dual carriageway on the Perth to Inverness section of the road has been highlighted as particularly dangerous.
Between 2006 and 2010, the A9 claimed more lives than any other road in Scotland, with 67 people losing their lives and 1,026 accidents – an average of 200 a year.