- Why was it decided that an overtaking campaign was required?
Despite road accidents in Scotland sitting at an all-time low, statistics show that between 2008 and 2012, over 40% of fatal accidents on single carriageway sections of the A9 involved overtaking*. Most accidents on the A9 stem from driver behaviour and raising awareness of the dangers of overtaking on this stretch of road and throughout Scotland can help towards reducing the number of accidents. Overtaking was the first topic in a series of planned marketing campaigns aimed at raising awareness of risky behaviours along the route.
*Source: Traffic Scotland
- If overtaking is such an issue then should the A9 not be dualled quicker?
Dualling of the A9 will provide several benefits and opportunities in addition to the road safety aspect. This is a complex £3 billion project which the Scottish Government is committed to and is currently planned to extend through until 2025. The first phases of construction began in 2015 with the 7.5 km Kincraig to Dalraddy section which is due for completion in summer 2017. It’s important during both the design and construction of the new road that we continue to raise awareness of the dangers of overtaking and keep Scotland’s roads safe.
- What evidence do you have to support the campaign?
- In the 5 years to 2012, over 40% of deaths on single carriageway sections of the A9 involved overtaking
- Almost all of those who die in overtaking manoeuvres are killed when a car or motorcyclist is overtaking a moving vehicle on the offside
- The majority of drivers have been driving for many years without any refresher theory test
- Anecdotally, drivers seem unaware of what road markings in the run-up to bends signify
- Vegetation/poor visibility on bends can be one of the factors involved in collisions involving over-taking: people simply do not ensure they have sufficient sight of the road ahead to be sure their way is clear
- Frustration and impatience with slower-moving vehicles can also be contributory factors to ill-advised over-taking
- Over-taking collisions are fairly well spread throughout the year, with minor spikes in July and November. They are unrelated to road conditions or darkness.
- Does the guidance apply to other roads?
This campaign was aimed locally to the length of the A9 but, the guidance applies to all roads within Scotland. It aims to address safety issues linked with careless overtaking up and down the country.
- Who is the campaign targeted at?
The campaign focused on anyone that uses the A9 to travel or commute however (in)frequently, including members of the public, businesses, hauliers and stakeholders.
Logically, given this is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of one of the specific safety issues relating to the A9, the campaign was focused around the route. However, these road safety messages are equally applicable to other stretches of single carriageway road.
- Who is most at risk from overtaking?
All road users on the A9 are at risk from dangerous driving behaviour. The risks involved in overtaking without being 100% certain it is safe to do so apply not only to the driver taking that decision, but to other drivers, passengers and the extended friends, families and communities of everyone involved.
- What were the aims of the campaign?
The campaign was aimed at contributing to an overall reduction in road traffic casualties along the A9 and to ultimately reduce the number of fatal and serious accidents.
- Who supported the campaign?
The campaign was supported by all members of the A9 Safety Group including Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, Safety Camera Partnerships, A9 Safety Group, The Highland Council, Perth and Kinross Council, BEAR Scotland, the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), Stagecoach, SCDI, FSB and IAM.
- What other campaigns have the A9 Safety Group promoted?
The overtaking campaign was the initial priority but was the first in a series of awareness—raising campaigns, and only one strand of activity geared at making the A9 a safer road, with Engineering (dualling) and Enforcement (safety cameras) playing a critical part. The Group have also promoted awareness of speed limits and the impact of fatigue on driving. Details of these campaigns can also be found on this site.
- What is an Average Speed Camera System?
An Average Speed Camera System is an automatic digital camera system that determines the average speed of vehicles. It detects vehicles through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and calculates their average speed by measuring the time taken to travel between defined points of a known distance. A conspicuous signing strategy is used to inform drivers that they are entering an average speed control zone.
- What is the purpose of Average Speed Camera Systems?
The purpose of Average Speed Camera Systems is to improve road safety. They achieve this by encouraging road users to travel at speeds in line with posted speed limits. Average Speed Camera Systems are used alongside other engineering, education and enforcement measures to reduce road casualty numbers.
- Which type of Average Speed Camera System are you using?
Average speed camera systems require to have Home Office certification before they can be used on UK roads. Vysionics (http://www.vysionics.com/) have been appointed to install the SPECS3 approved average speed enforcement system which is an established proven system having been in use across the UK since 2009.
The A9 system will use the latest digital version which is a wireless solution allowing multiple cameras to operate over different sections of the route. This approach allows considerably greater flexibility and a lower cost than the previous generation, where a dedicated, hard wired link between cameras was required.
- Why introduce Average Speed Cameras on the A9?
The reduction in accidents delivered by Average Speed Camera Systems speak for themselves. The A77 system was installed in 2005 and the latest three year figures to July 2015 show that there has been a 77% reduction in the number of people being killed and a 74% reduction in the number of people being seriously injured compared to the original 2005 baseline. Early indications are that the A9 system is having a significant impact but would emphasise that the cameras are just one part of a package of engineering, education and enforcement measures to improve safety on the A9.
- What was the evidence upon which the decision to introduce them on the A9 was based?
The Group collated and reviewed the facts and figures relating to the safety performance of the route to create a ‘route evidence base’. Safety has consistently improved where average speed cameras have been installed in Scotland, the UK and across the world on a variety of road types. The development of the average speed camera system for the A9 reflects the realities of the route, in particular the excessive speed recorded for many vehicles and the high accident severities recorded. With the experience of the A77 project there were strong indications that safety on the A9 would be improved by the introduction of an Average Speed Camera System.
- What other measures did the Safety Group consider?
The A9 Safety Group considered a number of supporting measures one of which is raising the speed limit for Heavy Goods Vehicles with a maximum weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes from 40 to 50mph on single carriageway sections of the A9. Research into this proposal identified that reducing the speed differential between classes of vehicles would reduce frustration and encourage safer driving when supported by the average speed camera system. The Scottish Parliament approved this measure as part of a three year pilot study which was introduced in October 2014.
- Is the Group open to other ideas about how to improve safety on the route?
Yes. The Group does not claim to have the monopoly on good ideas and remains open to further sensible suggestions for improvement especially if they can be backed up by supporting evidence.
- How will this address the issue of driver frustration caused by slower moving vehicles?
Driver frustration on the route is partly due to the behaviour of other drivers and partly due to unreliability of journey times. Driver frustration will be best addressed by the dualling, however observations indicate that Average Speed Camera Systems improve driver behaviour and people are more realistic about the speed they can drive at under such a system. Journey times will become more reliable as the cameras will reduce the number of incidents that require closures. Incidents on the A9 during 2013 led to carriageway closures or restrictions amounting to over 22 days.
The first 24 months of operation of the cameras are evidencing a sustained change in driver behaviour, reduced incident frequency / impact and more reliable journey times.
- Isn’t there a risk that because drivers are watching their speedometer, they could cause an accident by not paying more attention to the road?
No. This was mentioned many times before other similar schemes were implemented. However, each of these schemes have successfully reduced accidents. There is no evidence that drivers pay excessive attention to their speedometers where Average Speed Camera Systems are deployed.
- Will this measure reduce opportunities for the police to detect other road traffic offences on the route, negatively impacting on casualty figures?
Police Scotland is fully supportive of this measure and recognise the opportunity it will create to allow police resources to target other dangerous behaviours such as tailgating and driving without due care and attention.
- Where on the A9 will the Average Speed Camera System be used?
The system is visible along the A9 from just north of Keir Roundabout (Dunblane) to just south of Raigmore Interchange (Inverness). While this is approximately 136 miles (220 kms) the system will not operate over the entire length.
The design for the average speed camera system divides the road into two separate sections to take into account the distinct characteristics of the A9 and to make sure that each camera zone is tailored to the specific needs of that part of the route.
North of Perth, there are seven distinct average speed camera system zones all of which are single carriageway sections. The cameras are generally five to seven kilometres apart. South of Perth, there are 12 camera locations on the northbound carriageway and 11 on the southbound carriageway. The strategy north of Perth focusses on the single carriageway locations as that is where most people are being killed or seriously injured. The single carriageway sections between Perth and Inverness have a high accident severity ratio. 37 of 43 people killed on the A9 between Perth and Inverness in the 5 yearsto the end of 2012 have been on the single carriageways. South of Perth the cameras will address the high severity turning accidents being experienced at the cross-over junctions where the high speed through traffic is in conflict the slower turning traffic.
The longest single enforceable section on the A9 is approximately 31 miles, which is shorter than the overall length of the average speed cameras on the A77. The Perth to Dunblane dual carriageway section is 30 miles long, and so is also shorter than total length of the A77 system. This builds on the successful strategy deployed on the A77.
- Why is an Average Speed Camera System suitable for use on the A9?
Average Speed Camera Systems have delivered casualty reductions where they are permanently deployed in the UK. However, we recognise the need to carefully consider the suitability of this tool for use on a case by case basis. Detailed consideration has been made to ensure that an Average Speed Camera System is fit for purpose on the A9. The nature of the A9 in terms of its length, forward visibility/geometry, junction spacing, vehicle speeds and accident record (high proportion of KSI accidents on single carriageway sections, and wide distribution of accidents across the route) indicate that an Average Speed Camera System could positively influence road safety on this route. The casualty figures reported in October 2016 representing the mid-point in the monitoring programme are strongly suggesting that the strategy on the A9 is improving safety on the route.
- Will the system be capable of detecting all vehicle types?
Yes. The system is configured to have flexibility in its operation and is capable of detecting and enforcing speeds for all vehicle types.
- How have you been able to establish the speeds of different vehicle types on the A9?
Transport Scotland has a large number of traditional loop traffic counters spread across the route that are capable of detecting the number of vehicles passing over them and the speed at which they are travelling.
In addition to the loop counters, there are also a number of Weigh in Motion (WiM) counters on the route. WiM counters use inductive loops and piezo sensors in the road to detect the length, number of axles, weight and speed of vehicles passing over them. As such these counters are able to distinguish a large number of different vehicle types. Through a review of data collected at these locations, the speed of HGVs above 7.5 tonnes, along with the speed of a variety of other vehicle types can be separately identified.
- How many camera sites are there?
The design for the average speed camera system divides the road into two separate sections to take into account the distinct characteristics of the A9 and to make sure that each camera zone is tailored to the specific needs of that part of the route.
North of Perth, there are seven distinct average speed camera system zones all of which are single carriageway sections. The cameras are generally five to seven kilometers apart and there are 26 sites in total. South of Perth, there are 12 camera locations on the northbound carriageway and 11 on the southbound carriageway. The strategy north of Perth focusses on the single carriageway locations as that is where most people are being killed or seriously injured. South of Perth the cameras will address the high severity turning accidents being experienced at the cross-over junctions where the high speed through traffic is in conflict the slower turning traffic.
- Does it track vehicles changing lanes on dual carriageway sections?
The SPECS3 system is a multi lane system capable of monitoring all vehicles regardless of lane changes.
- How many mobile camera sites are there currently on the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness?
Prior to the introduction of the average speed camera system there were 79 mobile camera enforcement sites between Dunblane and Inverness. The Safety Camera Units will continue to deploy mobile camera units in line with published guidance to the dual carriageway stretches between Perth and Inverness not covered by the average speed cameras.
- How long has the system been operational?
The system went live on 28th October 2014.
- What is the speed limit on those parts of the route with two lanes of traffic in one direction, and one lane travelling in the other?
The speed limits will remain at the national speed limit.
The speed limits on parts of the route with two lanes of traffic in one direction, and one lane travelling in the other are the same as observed on single carriageway sections of the route. At this time, it is not proposed that any speed limits on the route are changed through installation of an Average Speed Camera System. It is the responsibility of road users to make sure they are fully aware of the Highway Code before undertaking any journey on Scottish roads.
- What signage is being used?
The signing is consistent with that used on the A77 and Average Speed Camera Systems used elsewhere in the UK. The signing regime meets current best practice standards.
- Who operates the Average Speed Camera System?
The operational management of the system is undertaken by the North Safety Camera Unit.
- How much did the system cost and who paid for it?
The capital investment was just over £3 million and Transport Scotland as the Trunk Road Authority paid for this initiative.
- What are the ongoing costs of the system and how will these be funded?
The operational costs will be offset by the removal of the existing fixed and mobile safety cameras on the route and will be met by the Safety Camera Partnerships from their grant funding allocation.
- How can spending this money be justified?
The average cost of a fatal accident in Scotland is now over £2.1m and the published evidence has now determined that along with costs associated with serious injury accidents the scheme has payed for itself through accident savings.
- Why are you using it across such long lengths of the route?
A review of vehicle speeds on the A9 indicated a significant proportion of vehicles travelling at speeds in excess of the posted speed limits across the extent of the Dunblane to Inverness section. The system was designed to influence driver behaviour across the A9 corridor for the benefits of all road users. This includes delivering improved fairness for the haulage industry for freight movements on the route, which are often end to end.
The published data is now evidencing sustained changes to driver behaviour which is positively influencing safety along the A9 corridor.
- Will speeding problems not just move to other roads?
Transport Scotland and its Operating Companies will continue to monitor safety performance across the trunk road network and part of this assessment involved the monitoring of parralel routes to the A9 to assess any displacement of both traffic volume and speeds. This exercise did not evidence any issues on the routes monitored. A similar exercise was carried out on the A77 and no evidence was found to support any type of displacement.
- Surely this is just a mechanism to generate additional revenue from speeding offences?
Ring-fencing of fixed penalties for speeding offences stopped on 1st April 2007. As such, any receipts from speeding offence fixed penalties and court fines are paid to HM Treasury’s consolidated fund. The first two years of operation of the cameras is now evidencing a 63% drop in the numbers of drivers being reported for speeding along the length of the A9 compared to the pre-scheme figures.
- Are there any plans for the Group to review the decision to deploy the average speed cameras?
The A9 Safety Group agreed that the most sensible course of action is to monitor the route following the introduction of the Average Speed Camera System and complimentary road policing strategy.
Evidence will then be evaluated by the A9 Safety Group and partners to ensure that any further measures introduced are likely to positively influence driver behaviors’. The average speed system was introduced to support a wider suite of measures and to reinforce the effect of the measures already undertaken, not as a solution in its own right.
- There are safety problems on other routes too, what is the justification for further investment (on top of the dualling programme) on this route?
The characteristics of the A9 with its long straights and relatively infrequent junctions suit the capabilities of an Average Speed Camera System. This allows us to address the high levels of excessive speed that is commonplace on the route. An Average Speed Camera System is a relatively low cost measure that can deliver high return in terms of its ability to reduce accidents.
The Scottish Government has made a commitment to fully upgrade the A9 to dual carriageway between Perth and Inverness. Dualling the route will deliver a number of benefits including improved road safety. An Average Speed Camera System is intended to be a short to medium term solution to help to reduce road casualties in advance of and during the delivery of the dualling programme.
Where possible, it is also intended that the Average Speed Camera System will be used to maintain safety levels for road users and road workers during construction of the dualling programme.
- Won’t this have a detrimental effect on connectivity and attractiveness for investment in the north of Scotland?
No, the journey time disbenefits are small, particularly compared to the variability in journey times currently experienced. Although average journey times have marginally increased in line with predictions, journey time reliability has also improved as a result of reduced incident frequency and severity. Excessive speeding has reduced significantly and while this impacts overall journey time averages those travelling at or near the current speed limit should notice generally smaller increases in journey time. Road safety is of paramount importance and any measure that can be used to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured should be considered.
Disruption arising from fatal and serious accidents affects all road users and improving the safety of the route will lessen the frequency of such disruption. We are making connections safer and more reliable while creating a level playing field for the delivery of goods. This can only be attractive for investment.
- Will tourists understand how to drive appropriately within the system?
Driving under an Average Speed Camera System places no additional requirements on road users outside of those set out in the Highway Code. Drivers who understand the speed limit will be able to drive appropriately in the system.
It is recognised that the A9 serves a wide ranging mix of traffic, with tourist numbers increasing significantly during the summer months. Clear signing has been developed to ensure that road users are made fully aware when they are entering and exiting the average speed camera controlled zone.
- Could you not use other, more proportionate speed management and enforcement measures?
Average Speed Camera Systems are proven to be very effective at achieving compliance and therefore generate a low number of speeding tickets. They are, in themselves, proportionate approaches to speed management, particularly on longer routes such as the A9.
- Has the HGV speed limit pilot been implemented?
The HGV speed limit pilot was introduced at the same time as the average speed camera system for the A9. The Regulations promoted by the Scottish Parliament to allow for the maximum speed limit for HGV’s exceeding 7.5 tonnes to be raised from 40 to 50mph on single carriageway sections of the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
- Is the HGV speed limit pilot reliant on Average Speed cameras?
Yes – both are part of an integrated strategy for the A9.
- Will raising the speed limit for HGVs make the A9 more dangerous?
No – the evidence indicates that average speed cameras make the A9 safer, even with the HGV speed limit increased.
- Does this decision have the backing of the A9 Safety Group?
The A9 Safety Group has agreed that average speed cameras promote improved safety with a 50 mph HGV speed limit in place. Group members have highlighted that, on the basis of the available evidence, retaining the current speed limits is projected to have a marginally better safety performance. This does not include a consideration of the effects of higher speed differentials and overtaking rates on the performance of the route.
- How long will the speed limit pilot last?
There are no proposals to withdraw the pilot. Its operation will be monitored and we will act if unacceptable driver behaviour is recorded. As the A9 is progressively dualled, the pilot speed limit on the existing single carriageway sections will be replaced by that applied to the new dual carriageway sections.
- Why has the A9 been chosen for the pilot?
Our evidence indicates that simply raising the speed limits for HGVs would have a detrimental effect on safety. The proposed use of average speed cameras is necessary to support wider changes promoting an overall improvement in road safety. The A9 is the only route for which average speed cameras are proposed.
- 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. Why is this not being implemented in Scotland?
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 DfT will be conducting a post implementation review of the change which will provide useful information from a Scottish context to consider this evidence in parallel with evaluation of the A9 pilot project.
- Will you raise speed limits anywhere else on the A9?
No – the pilot is predicated on average speed cameras being in place. Evidence indicates that raising the HGV speed limit without average speed cameras would lead to a reduction in safety performance.
- Evidence on the Safety Group’s website suggests that a 50 mph HGV limit is less safe than 40 mph. How can this pilot be justified?
The evidence relates principally to the effects of speed and does not reflect the effects of the speed differential between different types of vehicles and potential changes in overtaking that may result from more widespread enforcement of the 40mph limit.
- Are commercial concerns being put before safety?
No – the interim safety plan is intended to promote safety through education, engineering and enforcement measures. The average speed cameras are only part of that plan and we will promote further safety and operational improvements through other actions and campaigns.
- Your own figures show that HGVs are involved in a higher proportion of accidents on single carriageway sections of the A9, won’t higher speeds contribute to that trend?
No – HGVs are overrepresented in the accident figures. This does not mean, however, that the HGVs caused the accidents. Accidents have a range of contributory factors and the interim safety plan is being developed to address as many of these as possible. Improved behaviour by all A9 users, including HGV drivers will be important in promoting safety on the route.
- How will the pilot be enforced?
The average speed camera system will enforce better speed limit compliance. Police Scotland and the Safety Camera Partnerships will continue to target inappropriate behaviour and target their resources as part of the interim safety plan.
- What would need to happen for you to end the speed limit pilot?
The effects of the HGV speed limit pilot will be monitored. If unacceptable driver behaviour is recorded that may be addressed by reinstating the previous speed limits, we would give consideration to that.
- Will average speed cameras increase overtaking and cause accidents?
No – evidence suggests that drivers are generally more realistic about their journey times and moderate their speeds where average speed cameras are deployed.
- Wouldn’t more stringent enforcement of current laws on dangerous driving reduce driver frustration and make the A9 safer?
There are already high levels of enforcement on the A9. These alone have not proven sufficient to bring about a step change in the behaviour of drivers and improve the safety of the route. The interim safety plan, including the deployment of average speed cameras is necessary to do this, in advance of the dualling works.
- Why use a road that already has a high level of accidents to trial this?
The HGV speed limit pilot is dependent on the use of average speed cameras. The available evidence shows that these will improve safety.
- How will the average speed camera system work as the dualling progresses?
Between Perth and Inverness, it is likely that the average speed cameras would be removed after the dualling of a particular section is complete. Judgements on this will be made as circumstances require. South of Perth, average speed cameras have been deployed on already dualled sections, reflecting speed related issues on this section. They are being retained until wider improvements, including junction improvements, have been delivered.
- Does this decision affect the economic case for dualling the A9?
The Scottish Government is committed to dualling the A9. The first phases of this dualling began 2015 and the programme is expected to end with the completed dualling between Perth and Inverness in 2025.
- How will you guarantee that HGVs act responsibly on the A9?
As part of the 50 mph speed limit pilot for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes, we have been working with the haulage industry to educate and improve driver behaviour around issues such as tail gaiting, elephant racing and overtaking to improve the operation of the route. Some drivers will still desire to overtake and if doing so we want them to think about the risks and make better informed decisions.
- Does the speed limit change affect cars, holiday makers or other goods vehicles?
Speed limits will remain the same for other categories of vehicles. There are no proposals for wider speed limit changes.
- Will tourists understand the different HGV speed limits on the A9?
The speed limit is not being changed for vehicles other than HGVs above 7.5 tons. The revised speed limit will be signed and used as part of the wider interim safety plan proposals to improve safety for all users of the A9.
- What else are you doing to improve safety on the A9?
We have invested over £137 million in recent years on maintaining and improving the A9. Moving forward, we will continue to invest in maintenance of the route, and targeted works, including new safety barriers, signing and lining and vegetation clearance to improve sightlines.
- The other routes where average speed cameras are deployed on are much shorter than the A9 – what proof do have they work on long routes of this type?
Average speed cameras have proven effective across a range of routes, of varying length and geometry across the UK and more widely across the world. The analysis undertaken indicates they will support safety improvements on the A9, by improving driver behaviour and moderating excessive speed. The published evidence is now supporting this strategy.
- Will changing the HGV speed limit divert traffic onto local roads?
No – The speed limit pilot is not expected to cause any significant diversion. HGVs, and other vehicles are expected to continue to use the main carriageway of the A9.
- What is the A9 Safety Group?
The A9 Safety Group is a multi-agency group made up of representatives from Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, Road Safety Scotland, Safety Camera Partnerships, The Highland Council, Perth and Kinross Council, BEAR Scotland, the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) and Stagecoach.
- Why was the A9 Safety Group set up?
Whilst dualling of the entire route will deliver substantial improvements for all road users, it will take some time to complete. We need to do what we can to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the A9 in advance of dualling work starting and whilst it progresses. The A9 Safety Group was established to consider measures which will continue to make both immediate and longer term improvements that will encourage positive changes to driver behaviour which make the road safer for all users.
- When will the dualling of the A9 be complete?
Dualling the A9 is complex and challenging, requiring the upgrade of 80 miles of single carriageway over a period of 10 years. Preparing for this involves detailed assessment, planning and consultation before construction can begin.
Each section of dualling represents a major project in its own right and requires in-depth design and preparation to ensure impacts on communities, businesses and the environment are kept to the absolute minimum. Transport Scotland has now awarded the three main design contracts for the route and construction on the Kincraig to Dalraddy section commenced in autumn 2015 with a completion date of summer 2017. The next phase Luncarty to Birnam is due to begin construction in 2017 and the programme aims to complete the dualling between Perth and Inverness by 2025.
- Could you not accelerate the dualling programme?
Our programme for dualling the A9 is already ambitious. The work involved in dualling 80 miles of single carriageway through the challenging and environmentally valuable landscape of Perthshire and the Highlands should not be underestimated.
Construction commenced in 2015 and work is progressing well on the design of the other sections.
- What is the role of the A9 Safety Group?
The A9 Safety Group was set up by Transport Scotland in July 2012 as a multi-agency group to work closely together with partners to reduce road casualties on the route. The main aim of the A9 Safety Group before and during the A9 dualling programme is to work together to explore any measures which could be introduced on the route using engineering, enforcement, education and encouragement to positively influence driver behaviour in a way that helps reduce road casualties.
- How often has the A9 Safety Group meet?
The A9 Safety Group meets on a quarterly basis.
- Are these meetings open to the public?
No, the Group has sought to establish itself and consider how best to promote safety on the A9, using the evidence available and further research to inform its thinking. All of the issues considered and decisions made are published through the A9 Safety Group website.
- Are the notes of previous meetings available?
Yes. These are available on the website under Publications
- What are the accident statistics for the A9?
The accident statistics for the route are contained within the Publications section of the website. The initial accident statistics are based on records up to 2012. As part of the monitoring programme for the route the key performance indicator reports published every quarter will contain updated accident data where it has been made available.
- What evidence is there that vehicle speeds are a key contributory factor in accidents occurring on the route?
Establishing the exact speed conditions within accidents can be difficult because accidents can only be investigated after the event. Drivers are often resistant to admitting to travelling at inappropriate speeds and speed is only one of a number of factors that may contribute to an accident.
We know that many of the vehicles travelling on the A9 are travelling above the speed limit and that excessive speed increases the risk of any particular accident being more severe. Evidence indicates that the ratio of fatal and serious accidents on single carriageway sections of the A9 is higher than for other comparable routes. The Average Speed Camera System will contribute to improved safety by reducing the instances of excessive speed.
To ensure the proposed measures address the real issues on the A9, members of the A9 Safety Group have been involved in reviewing and suggesting changes as appropriate.
Through this approach, colleagues from Police Scotland, Transport Scotland’s Operating Companies and the freight and passenger transport industries amongst others have helped to shape the review. By involving those who have direct experience of policing, managing, operating and using the route on a day-to-day basis, we have been able to base our analysis on a clear understanding of the A9’s operational characteristics.