MSPs drivers’ convictions include speeding on A9

ROAD safety campaigners have criticised the Scottish Government after ministers’ chauffeurs were revealed to have racked up a series of speeding convictions – including on the notorious A9.

The A9 Inverness to Perth road has been dubbed the most dangerous in Scotland. Picture: Jane Barlow
The A9 Inverness to Perth road has been dubbed the most dangerous in Scotland. Picture: Jane Barlow

Official figures show drivers for SNP ministers were caught breaking the limit on six occasions since 2011.

It included an offence on the A9 Inverness to Perth road – dubbed the most dangerous in Scotland – just three weeks before Transport Minister Keith Brown announced controversial plans to install speed cameras along the route.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Opposition MSPs described the figures as “very embarrassing”, with one claiming: “SNP ministers clearly enjoy life in the fast lane.”

Labour MSP David Stewart, who has long campaigned for the A9 to be duelled to cut deaths on the road, said the revelation of ministers’ chauffeurs being caught speeding flew in the face of their pledge to improve safety on the route.

Mr Stewart said: “The government is lecturing everyone else but they are not looking to their own behaviour as far as speed limits are concerned.

“People are concerned about the average-speed camera plans so this is very embarrassing for the government.

“This is a case of the proverb physician healeth thyself.”

Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, who has more than 20,000 signatures on a petition calling for duelling of the A9 to be fast-tracked, said: “Before lecturing the rest of the population about the need to calm speeds, perhaps Scottish ministers need to start closer to home and address the behaviour of their own drivers.”

The figures reveal ministerial drivers were given on-the-spot fines on two occasions, while also being caught out on the A9 on 5 June this year, on the A82 Inverness to Fort William road in August last year, on the A90 Aberdeen to Perth road in November 2011, and in Edinburgh in June 2011.

North-east Conservative MSP Nanette Milne claimed the SNP was becoming a government of “do as I say, not do as I do”.

She added: “SNP ministers clearly enjoy life in the fast lane. However, it is time they came back down to earth and, like the rest of us, kept to the speed limit.”

Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said he was “disappointed” government drivers had been caught speeding, adding: “This sets a pretty poor example.”

The Scottish Government would not reveal who was being driven in the vehicles at the time of the offences.

There are no records on figures before 2011.

A spokesman said: “During the three-year period here, government car service drivers undertook more than 27,000 journeys, indicating that such incidences are very rare.

“These speeding fines were dealt with on an individual basis, depending on the circumstances, including discussion between the driver and their line manager.

“No drivers have been banned.”

The A9 has claimed more lives between 2006-2010 than any other road in Scotland, with a figure of 67. There was a further 14 in 2011 and another 10 in 2012.

There were 1026 accidents, an average of 200 a year.

The Scottish Government proposes to dual the A9 from Inverness to Perth by 2025, and the whole length of the A96 by 2030.