Average speed cameras should be deployed on more Scottish roads, transport secretary Michael Matheson has told The Scotsman.
He said the Scottish Government should be “actively looking” to introduce them where they would be beneficial.
The data is already demonstrating we are seeing greater levels of compliance with the speed limit – driver behaviour is improvingMICHAEL MATHESON
Mr Matheson pointed to the success of the latest scheme, launched on the A90 between Dundee and Stonehaven in 2017, in reducing speeding.
Scotland’s first average speed camera system, on the A77 in Ayrshire, has significantly cut speeding and casualties since 2005.
The A9 system, introduced between Dunblane and Inverness in 2014, has also been hailed by officials for its “remarkable” success.
Mr Matheson said of the A90 scheme: “The data is already demonstrating we are seeing greater levels of compliance with the speed limit – driver behaviour is improving.
“So there’s no doubt that average speed cameras, used on an evidence-based and strategic way, can help to improve road safety on particular roads where there may be issues around driver behaviour and levels of collisions.
“I’m quite clear, at a strategic level, where they could have a benefit, then we should be actively looking to see whether they should be deployed in those areas.
“In my view, if the data supports it and if it is the right thing for us to do in helping to address driver behaviour on a particular stretch of road, then that’s what we should be looking to deploy.”
However, the minister also stressed: “For some roads, they will not be appropriate. I’m not saying all roads should be covered by average speed cameras.”
He said re-designing a road or junctions might be more appropriate in some cases.
Mr Matheson declined to say which roads were being considered for the cameras, which measure speed over a set distance. However, potential candidates could include the A9 north of Inverness, the A84 around Callander and the A75 between Stranraer and Dumfries.
Motoring group IAM RoadSmart warned the minister such cameras would not eliminate all road safety risks.
Neil Greig, its policy and research director, and a member of the A9 Safety Group overseeing the A9 scheme, said: “We will always support an evidence-led approach to the use of average speed cameras. However, on their own, they will never eliminate all crashes and there is much work still to be done to make Scotland’s roads as safe as possible.
“Average speed cameras will never fully protect drivers using inherently dangerous junctions on high-speed roads, for example at Laurencekirk [on the A90] or Auchterarder [A9], where grade-separated junctions [with slip roads] are long overdue.
“They will never provide the safe overtaking opportunities that are sadly missing on so many long stretches of our A-road network and they won’t stop fatigue-related incidents caused by poor service facilities on trunk roads.
“On top of all that, they will also never eliminate the problems caused by drivers willing to break the law and who can only really be stopped by a higher traffic police presence.”