Average speed cameras on the A9 have helped reduce the number of serious accidents in their first year of operation
For the first time since parts of the infamous road were upgraded in the 1970s, there were no fatal accidents anywhere on the route from July to December.
Average speed cameras on the A9 have had a dramatic impact on serious crashes in their first full year of operation, it has been claimed.
The system has been credited with helping to bring about one of the longest periods where there have been no fatal collisions on the route, once dubbed a killer.
And accident and casualty rates have fallen, signalling a positive change in driver behaviour, say campaigners.
Since the introduction of the speeding measures and a test 50mph lorry speed in October 2014 accidents have been cut by nearly 60 per cent on some stretches and by nearly 45 per cent between Perth and Inverness.
But transport chiefs have refused to reveal to the Perthshire Advertiser the number of lorries caught breaking the limit or break down offences to those committed by motorbikers.
Minister Derek McKay said: “For the first time since parts of the A9 were upgraded in the 1970s, there were no fatal accidents anywhere on the route from July to December.
“These improvements are taking place with rising traffic volumes and the continuing use of this nationally important route to support the economy of the Highlands and Islands.
“We are monitoring the performance of the A9 and welcome the figures which indicate that the route continues to perform far more safely than before. ‘Fatal and serious casualties’ have more than halved and there are clear and substantial reductions in fatal casualties both between Perth and Inverness and between Perth and Dunblane.
“Every road death is one too many and that is why we remain steadfastly committed to reducing casualty numbers even further as we continue to work with all our partners to reach our ambitious targets for 2020.”
Police Scotland also claim that the latest quarterly data shows that fewer drivers are being reported.
A total of 6107 vehicles were detected speeding between October 2014 and this week resulting in further action being taken.
On the dual carriageway south of Perth between 5 per cent and 20 per cent of drivers exceeded speed limits at the camera sites, according to the most recent figures. This is down from between a quarter and a third since 2011.
North of Perth monitoring at Bankfoot, Birnam and Killiecrankie used to see between 10 and 36 per cent of drivers break the speed limit, but this now ranges from less than 5 per cent to 15 per cent.
Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston from Police Scotland said: “The reduction in serious and fatal injury collisions on the A9 in the first year following installation of the safety cameras is welcome. However, while the number of fatalities decreased by a quarter, the case remains that six people sadly lost their lives on the road.
“It is apparent the Safety Cameras have contributed towards changing driver behaviour, particularly in respect of complying with speed limits. Since the cameras were introduced just over 6000 vehicles have been detected travelling at excessive speed and subject to enforcement action.
“To put some perspective on this figure, during the same period there were over 18 million vehicle movements along the route. This represents an extremely high level of compliance.”
Transport Scotland says a full three years of operation for the average speed camera system will need to pass before safety performance can be assessed.
The PA requested further details of the offending vehicles triggering the cameras, including the number of HGVs exceeding the 50mph speed limit north of Perth, and the number of motorcycles caught in excess of the speed trigger.
Our FOI request was refused because Police Scotland says the figures must remain exempt to prevent the threshold for offences being identified.
Courtesy: Iain Howie