Motoring groups want rumble strips installed on high-risk Scottish routes

The cost of installing rumble strips would be worth it, say campaigners. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The cost of installing rumble strips would be worth it, say campaigners. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Rumble strips which alert drivers if they are veering off the road should be installed along high-risk Scottish routes, motoring groups have urged.

The call follows a study in England which showed the measure could have significant safety benefits on single-carriageway roads.

The strips, which cause vibration and noise when driven over, are commonly installed on the edge of motorways and dual carriageways.

However, two-lane A roads have a fatal collision risk of nearly seven times that of motorways and are considered to pose the highest risk to drivers.

The study by the respected TRL research body – the former Transport Research Laboratory – recommended a UK trial on such roads.

It would also test strips along the centre line to alert drivers they were crossing into the opposite carriageway.

The TRL report stated: “Considering the low cost of installation versus the benefits, rumble strips are often regarded as one of the highest benefit-to-cost roadside safety treatments around the world.”

TRL estimated they would cost between £1,000 and £6,500 a mile to install.

However, the study, which focused on England, found “significant stretches of road” where at least one death or serious injury a year per mile was likely to be avoided if rumble strips were deployed, including on the A1 just south of the Border.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the IAM RoadSmart motoring group, said: “Anything that alerts fatigued drivers that they may be drifting off course would be of value.

“They only work well on new, wider carriageways, so it would be very useful to see an early pilot study on some improved sections of single carriageway.

“Maintaining them would also be a challenge as white lines are in a poor state across Scotland.”

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “We’d be supportive of road authorities looking at expanding the use of rumble strips, especially on high-speed single carriageways.

“This, combined with lane departure warning systems that are now more common on newer cars, could help make these roads safer.”

A spokesman for Transport Scotland, which is responsible for major roads, said: “We are interested in learning more about the potential benefits of innovative approaches, including self-enforcing roads with engineering measures such as markings, alignment and rumble strips to try to prevent accidents and improve driver behaviour.”

Favoured routes

Some of the remaining single-carriageway stretches of the A9 between Perth and Inverness would be IAM RoadSmart’s favourite for a rumble strips trial.

Neil Greig, the group’s policy and research director and a member of the Transport Scotland-led A9 Safety Group, favoured a test on its northern sections.

He said: “Fatigue seems to be an issue among collisions around Aviemore, so Carrbridge to Aviemore, or around Kingussie, would be a possible first choice.

“There have been a couple of major crashes up that way.”

Greig said other candidates included the A82 from north of Loch Lomond to Crianlarich, and east of Glencoe, the wider stretches of the A68 south of Pathhead and the A702, which connects the M74 to Edinburgh, northeast of Abington.