A9 speed cameras switch on
At the same time, in a move that has been welcomed by the freight industry and driver organisations alike, the 50 mph HGV speed limit trial gets underway in a bid to reduce driver frustration.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“Our efforts to improving safety on the A9 are underpinned by our commitment to dualling the A9 by 2025. This is clearly evidenced by our recent announcement regarding the four short-listed bidders for the Kincraig to Dalraddy section – a project we expect to get underway next summer, some six months earlier than originally planned.
"In the meantime, the A9 Safety Group ensures that key partners, such as the police, local authorities and transport & business groups are working closely to make a positive difference for A9 road users.
“The facts are clear that average speed cameras are effective in saving lives. Before and after studies of other average speed camera sites in the UK show, on average, they achieved a 61 per cent reduction in fatal and serious accidents. Average speed cameras encourage drivers to improve their behaviour and we are already seeing this on the A9.
“These cameras are part of package of measures being introduced make the A9 safer, including substantial investment in engineering improvements, such as improved lighting and signing, as well as education campaigns.
“The average speed cameras will allow Police Scotland to target instances of dangerous driving more effectively but all A9 users have a responsibility to drive to the conditions and relevant speed limits during the course of their journeys.
“Together with the 50 mph HGV speed limit trial, we are introducing a level playing field for businesses who should benefit from less disruption and more reliable journey times due to a reduction in disruption caused by accidents.”
Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, Police Scotland said:
“Police Scotland supports the introduction of average speed cameras on the A9.
“We are committed to Keeping People Safe on our roads and are supportive of any measure which is shown to impact positively towards the reduction of road collisions.
"However, road safety is not just about speeding, it's about road user behaviour and how individual road users engage with each other on the road.
“Police Scotland will retain a high visibility presence on the A9, as with all our roads across Scotland, to make sure that drivers are driving responsibly and within the law.
“We will continue to challenge risk taking on the roads and our officers will educate, advise, provide guidance and enforce legislation when necessary.”
On the 50 mph HGV speed limit trial, Chief Superintendent Murray said:
“Police Scotland will work with Transport Scotland to monitor the behaviour of drivers during the initiative. We welcome the Scottish Government's measured approach to the introduction of a revised speed limit for Large Goods Vehicles.”
Arron Duncan, Tayside Safety Camera Partnership Manager said:
“On behalf of all three Safety Camera Partnerships with responsibility for the operation of the Average Speed Camera System on the A9 I welcome the arrival of this valuable additional tool in support of our objectives to reduce the number of people killed or injured on Scottish Roads.
“My colleagues and I remain totally convinced from the information available to us that the system will support the delivery of substantial road safety benefits to all road users who are required or desire to travel on the A9 and overall make their journey a safer, less stressful and more enjoyable experience.”
“I would also stress that the system, which operates 24hours a day, as well as being a proven deterrent to drivers inclined to speed, is also a very efficient and effective enforcement tool and those drivers who choose to ignore speed limit and drive in excess of the applicable speed limit for their vehicle will be appropriately dealt with in accordance with the law. My advice is therefore clear – Don’t Risk It.”
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at the IAM says
“This is one of the most innovative and important road safety schemes in Scotland for years.
“With full dualling still over ten years away it is vital that safety on the A9 is maintained and average speed cameras are a tried and tested way to achieve this. It’s a big change and some drivers will have to rethink their whole approach to travelling along the route.
"The higher HGV speed limit should help reduce frustration, but by setting realistic journey times, taking breaks and above all avoiding unsafe overtaking manoeuvres road users can still enjoy a safe and less stressful journey along one of the UKs most scenic roads.”
- There are no proposals to change HGV speeds on other trunk roads in Scotland.
- It is well established that increases in speed correspond with increased risk to road users. The pilot project on the A9 incorporates the average speed camera system to mitigate this risk and the monitoring process in place will evaluate the effectiveness of this mitigation measure. Simply raising the speed limit for HGV’s would have a detrimental effect on road safety. The Scottish Government are committed to ensuring that the nation’s road network is as successful as it can be, allowing all those who use it to get to their destinations safely and without unnecessary delay.
- The Department for Transport have announced that from spring 2015 in England & Wales the maximum speed on single carriageways for HGV's will rise to 50mph. The DfT will be conducting a post implementation review of the change which will provide useful information from a Scottish context.
- Independent research based on face to face interviews with A9 drivers showed that 78 per cent of them believed that average speed cameras were ‘effective’ or ‘very effective’ in improving safety.
- 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 without the cameras even being operational.
- Instances of excessive speeding have dropped from around one in ten to less than one in seven hundred since the cameras were installed on the A9 and there has been no significant effect on journey times as a result if more people driving at the speed limit.
- An analysis of incidents on the A9 last year tells us that the carriageway restrictions involved in dealing with these incidents, a large proportion of them serious accidents totalled more than 540 hours. That’s the equivalent of over 22 days of restrictions on the A9 last year. The cameras will make connections safer and more reliable and will reduce the cost to the economy of serious accidents.
The latest information on the A9 Safety Group is available at http://www.a9road.info/