‘Encouraging’ stats since introduction of A9 average speed cameras

12.00 | 29 July 2015 | | 7 comments

Data for the first nine months since the introduction of an average speed camera system on the A9 in Scotland shows ‘improved driver behaviour’ and ‘encouraging’ casualty statistics, according to the A9 Safety Group.

The A9 trunk road is the main route that connects central Scotland and the Highlands. It stretches from Dunblane, situated north of Stirling, and travels north bypassing Perth and Inverness before finishing in Thurso. The route is made up of single and dual carriageways with varying speed limits.

The A9 Safety Group was set up by Transport Scotland as a multi-agency group to reduce fatal and serious road traffic accidents on the route, before and during a programme of works to dual the A9.

The latest data includes details of collisions and casualties recorded in the first six months of the cameras being operational (Oct 2014 – Mar 2015).

The A9 Safety Group says the data demonstrates the “improved driver behaviour on the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness with the average speed cameras delivering compliance levels in excess of 99.96%”.

The Group describes the first set of casualty data as “very encouraging”, with the number of fatal and serious casualties between Dunblane and Inverness (the stretch of the A9 where cameras are operating) down by 50% when compared to the average for the same period between 2011-2013. The Group says there have also been “substantial reductions” in the number of injury accidents and overall casualties.

However, the data also shows an increase in fatal casualties on the stretch of the road between Perth and Inverness. The A9 Safety Group describes this as “concerning” and says it is “actively looking at the causes to determine what other intervention measures may be appropriate to further improve safety on the route”.

A spokesperson for the A9 Safety Group said: “These most recent figures continue to demonstrate that driver behaviour on the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness has significantly improved since the introduction of average speed cameras.

“This technology continues to be the most effective measure in terms of ensuring compliance with the speed limit, with the A9 system delivering compliance levels in excess of 99.96%.

“Despite rising traffic volumes the recorded number of incidents has continued to drop as well as the impact of these incidents in respect to closures and restrictions on the route. This has resulted in improved journey time reliability between Dunblane and Inverness.

“Whilst the (casualty) figures are encouraging, we will continue to monitor the route over the coming months and years to build upon these early results.”

Picture credit: Aaron Sneddon


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    One thing more with the length of the road being as long as it is, over 100 miles and the average speed in general would be nearer 35 to 40 mph. Add to that that it’s the main trunk road north for HGVs etc it seems to me that the planners have forgotten the rules about drivers hours and safety ie tiredness and rest breaks. There should be at least one decent services both for rest, refreshments and re fuelling along that road. even if traffic had to drive a couple of miles down a road to such a services. That would make it a much safer road for all. The powers that be wouldn’t allow that amount of mileage on a motorway without a safety break would they. Think also of the revenue it would bring in.

    Bob craven Lancs….Space is Safe campaigner
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    Having ridden this road about one month ago and on motorcycle I may make some comment. It’s over 100 miles long which for any road is a long road. Much of it is single carriageway with the odd dual carriageway for some overtaking to take place but these are few, short and far apart. HGVs were doing the limit at 50 mph and many other vehicles were following on but unfortunately extremely close together and nothing like the safe distance as recommended in the Highway Code. Thus any vehicle that wanted to overtake, and that included me sometimes on my Mc, could not because the vehicles were too close and there was therefore insufficient space to commit to a safe overtake with a guaranteed return to the correct side of the road. That said I did see some overtaking on the single carriageways but they were decidedly dangerous. Much of the A9 is also bendy with extremely long bends that make forward vision almost impossible to consider an overtake. To my mind its a poorly thought out road that is just waiting for inappropriate overtakes to take its toll.. ASC or not.

    Bob Craven Lancs..Space is Safe Campaigner
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    My post below is incorrect – I should have said ‘fatal and serious casualties’ are down 50%, rather than ‘deaths’, as per the article above. My apologies.

    Here’s the reference on the Transport Scotland website:

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
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    Hi Nick, could you recheck that? The report is badly written but, having checked again, I see no reference to fatalities, except for the increase you mention. No-where else can I see any claim that fatalities have reduced (only KSI reductions).

    Unless you have other information, we must assume there are now more deaths after the average speed cameras were installed but, without any control routes or measurements of RTM, trend and other changes, we have no idea whether these speed cameras contributed to the increases, or prevented even more.

    Is this the report?

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    Just to be clear, the A9 Group is saying that across the whole stretch where cameras are deployed deaths are down 50% – it is just one particular stretch (between Perth & Inverness) where fatalities have risen.

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
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    The A9 has had a poor record for accidents ever since the ‘new’ A9 was constructed. In essence, it has been poorly designed with too much ‘fast’ single carriageway frequented by heavy lorries, caravans and fast cars, encouraging overtaking by those with poor judgement skills.

    The irony of these latest statistics are displayed in the groups statement:

    “However, the data also shows an increase in fatal casualties on the stretch of the road between Perth and Inverness. The A9 Safety Group describes this as “concerning” and says it is “actively looking at the causes to determine what other intervention measures may be appropriate to further improve safety on the route”.

    Incidents down, but deaths up. Something wrong with the ingredients.

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
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    Encouraging? We should all be very concerned by the A9SG stats. The A9 average speed cameras were not installed within a scientific trial, therefore we don’t have a valid comparison. Furthermore, there is no evaluation of selection effects (RTM), nor of trends, and none of the many other changes. Therefore how can we know whether the casualty reductions and fatality increases would have occurred anyway, without the average speed cameras?

    With the new fashion of installing long sections of average speed cameras (eg 8 routes in and out of London) we need to start using an evidence-led approach before it’s too late. I suspect average speed cameras will produce safety benefits, but I would not be so reckless as to force these on our citizens without being able to prove their effect, specifically on fatal and serious injury rates. And, to do that, all we have to do is run simple scientific trials. It’s not difficult.

    Dave Finney, Slough
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