19 April 2018
Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart, has written to the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf, asking him to consider piloting an HGV speed increase from 40mph to 50mph on the A96Inverness to Aberdeen road.
His call comes after the introduction of such a pilot and the introduction of average speed cameras on the A9 have shown they have reduced fatalities and road collision injuries.
“Average speed cameras were introduced at the same time as the HGV speed was increased on the A9 as a pilot in 2014.
"As it now seems that both elements of this road safety issue have been successful, I wrote to the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP,asking if he will seriously consider the increase in speed of HGV’s for the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen.
"This route will be dualled by 2030,however in the meantime such an increase would reduce frustration, improve driver behaviour and reduce road casualties.
"In 2015 my team at NOSDAT (North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team) worked with the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and established that you could reduce frustration, if the difference in the traffic mean speed was reduced.
"Previously HGVs on the A9 legally travelled at 40mph whilst cars could legally travel at 60mph.
"The mean difference in the two speeds was 20mph and this fact and issue was a contributory factor in congestion and frustration.
"By reducing the mean speed of all traffic, or put another way, by reducing the gap between the slowest and fastest to 10mph,it was proven that this could reduce congestion and at the same time reduce frustration and allow traffic top flow better reducing by default road collisions.
"Speed and Driver behaviour are the main causes of most collisions as we know, so if we reduce the capability to speed and at the same time reduce frustration and allow the traffic to flow smoother, then we create much better driving conditions.
"In relation to the A9, the improved safety record is as a direct result of a combination of different elements from the average speed cameras, through to the increased HGV speed, including the work of road safety groups and organisations such as my own one NOSDAT and of course ,increased Police activity and much better driver education."