Tayside Police in joint action on A9

TAYSIDE Police and Northern Constabulary have joined with their colleagues in the Northern and Tayside Safety Camera Partnerships, as well as their partners within the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) to carry out a joint initiative to reduce the number of collisions and casualties on the A9.

They will be targeting all offences which impact on road safety but particularly instances of careless and dangerous driving on the main arterial route to and from the Highlands.

August is one of the busiest months on the A9 and historically has seen more collisions than other months on the stretch of road between Perth and Inverness. Tayside Police and Northern Constabulary are determined to tackle this issue.

The primary objective of this joint initiative is to enhance road safety while also seeking to reduce the number of incidents which can cause significant disruption to local communities and businesses and the wider travelling public. These incidents often lead to lengthy delays and the requirement for long diversions to be implemented so the aftermath can be dealt with safely.

Inspectors Julie Robertson from Tayside Police said: “Contrary to some beliefs, poor driver behaviour is at the root many serious and fatal collisions and not the road in itself.

“Taking simple measures such as regular breaks on long journeys to avoid fatigue; avoiding unnecessary distractions by not using your mobile ‘phone while driving; ensuring that you travel within the speed limit and very importantly at an appropriate speed for the road and weather conditions; allied with ensuring that seatbelts and child restraints are always worn, could all serve to save your own and other road users’ lives or prevent serious injuries being caused.

“Furthermore you will avoid the penalties for failing to comply with the road traffic laws which are there to assist in making the roads safer.”

High profile patrols will be carried out in marked road policing vehicles and they will be supported by mobile safety camera vans to influence driver behaviour. These activities are intended to reassure the law abiding public whilst deterring and detecting inappropriate driving. Unmarked patrol cars are also operating on this route.

Officers will be taking the opportunity to examine driving documents and if necessary the powers conferred from the Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 165A will be used to seize vehicles being driven without a policy of insurance or a valid driving licence.

In conjunction with VOSA, attention will be given to all types of commercial vehicles. This is to ensure that the specific legislation associated with the use of these vehicles is being adhered to including respective speed limits, driver’s hours and mechanical roadworthiness and maintenance.

Officers consider this as much about educating as it is about enforcing and will be engaging with the motoring public to enhance their understanding of Road Traffic legislation. Using Facebook and Twitter, both Forces will be offering helpful tips and advice; releasing figures of those committing motoring offences specifically on the A9; as well as providing information relating to any events which are happening in each of the respective Force areas.

Inspector Derek Paterson commented: “Our commitment to education and enforcement in these areas both through targeted patrols, partnership initiatives and through the Safety Camera Partnerships remains a high priority not just during our days of action but as part of our daily roles.”

Inappropriate driving as well as careless driving will be targeted during the initiative and Inspector Julie Robertson said: “It is important that drivers are aware of their ever changing surroundings and adjust their driving accordingly. Many different types of vehicles use the A9 and drivers can become frustrated when travelling behind a slower moving vehicle which may be complying with the speed limit for that type of vehicle. We cannot over emphasise the need to be patient and overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.

“Many drivers of large goods vehicles whose vehicles are limited to 40 mph, and other drivers of slow moving vehicles adhere to good practice and pull over from time to time to allow queues of traffic to pass safely. I would encourage any slow-moving road user who can see a build up of traffic behind them to pull in safely at a lay-by at an early opportunity to do this.

“While this may add a minute or so to their own journey time, it could reduce frustration for others and help prevent collisions and saving lives.”

She concluded: “Remember, no one can be complacent about road safety. Drivers must concentrate on their driving and the ever changing traffic, road and weather conditions around them. Please don’t be tempted to take chances on our roads. Don’t Risk It!”