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The controversial speed cameras installed by the Scottish Government on the A9 between Perth and Inverness went fully live back in October (2014). When first proposed, the cameras were offered as a way to reduce the number of serious accidents by deterring speeding and dangerous overtaking. A little more than a month into the programme, the results appear to be a mixed bag for car and HGV drivers.

Those who support the cameras insist they are forcing drivers to change their behaviour. Speeding has been reduced, as have the number of citations relating to it. Yet it will be some time before we know, statistically speaking, whether the reductions in speed have actually contributed to a safer roadway. Police and other government officials are confident they will.

On the other side of the equation, opponents of the cameras say they are causing more problems than they are solving. For example, anti-camera campaigner Mike Burns told the Press & Journal that a significant number of his group’s 10,000 members complain they no longer feel safe on the A9 at times. He says some car drivers are so scared by the backed up queues and persistent dangerous overtaking that they pull into laybys and wait until traffic subsides before continuing their journeys.

The one group seemingly being helped by the speed cameras are the HGV drivers making the run between Perth and Inverness. This is primarily due to the fact that the speed limit for most of these vehicles was raised from 40 to 50 mph in conjunction with the installation of the cameras. The higher speed limit allows HGVs to get where they are going more quickly and with less risk of being involved in accident caused by a careless car driver trying to overtake in frustration.

MP Danny Alexander is among those who were not happy with the cameras. He says they are causing “crawling cues, increased frustration, dangerous overtaking, and B-roads being used as rat runs.” He supports other measures that would make the A9 safer until the Government eventually rebuilds the roadway as a multi-lane dual carriageway or motorway.

Traffic Considerations

Scotland’s A9 controversy is not unusual or unique. Throughout the UK, there are plenty of roads that are now inadequate for modern traffic needs after having been built in a time when the volume of traffic was not nearly what it is today. Unfortunately, traffic considerations are part of every road project now being considered in Britain. Moreover, because money does not exist to take care of all of them at once, officials have to be very selective in what they choose to do. In the meantime, temporary measures – such as speed cameras and enforcement – must be employed to keep roads safe.

As a leading provider of HGV training in the UK, the HGV Training Centre knows how frustrating traffic congestion can be to car and HGV drivers. Nonetheless, we must all do our best to drive safely and responsibly at all times.

Sources:

  1. Press & Journal – https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/scotland/scotland-traffic/404371/head-of-road-policing-says-a9-speed-cameras-have-positive-effect/

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