In Scotland, the A9 trunk road links Stirling with the cities of Perth and Inverness, extending further to Thurso on the far north coast. The distance is some 260 miles, 420 km. Between Perth and Inverness, 110 miles / 180 km, the road switches between dual- and single-carriageway at irregular intervals. The landscape tends to be monotonous mountain scenery, and lapses of attention are unavoidable. The speedlimit is 70 mph / 110 kph on the dual-carriageway sections, and 60 mph / 100 kph on the single carriageway parts.
Over the years, single- and multi-vehicle accidents have claimed dozens of lives, and speeding, driver frustration (being stuck behind that slow lorry or caravan) and just plain bad driving have been contributory factors. The Scottish Government have finally agreed to convert the Perth to Inverness stretch to dual carriageway all the way by 2030. In the meantime, a system of average-speed cameras has been installed to monitor and reduce speeds.
I have been appalled by the reactions to this scheme prior to it going live on Monday. A senior government minister (of the UK administration) has led the campaign against it, which to my mind is tantamount to condoning the breaking of the law. If implementing the cameras leads to longer journey times, the only conclusion I can draw is that people have been breaking the speed limits for years. To alleviate the problem of 'slow lorries', the speed limit for HGVs has been raised to 50 mph for the dual carriage way sections.
The A9 is a challenging route at the best of time, and any scheme to improve safety should be welcomed. Not slated just because people are forced to obey the law. I think I prefer to be ten minutes late rather than be one minute early going into hospital out of a car crash - or worse. And you can factor in the longer journeytimes - it's called: planning.