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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 11:48 GMT
Danger road report 'misleading'
The A889 road
The AA surveyed accidents on 800 major routes
A report which identified a road in the Highlands as the most dangerous in Britain has been described as "misleading" by the Scottish Executive.

The AA undertook a study of 800 major trunk roads and primary roots and put the A889 near Dalwhinnie at the top of its "risk" list.

The 13.5km stretch of road has an accident rate almost double that of the next most dangerous, the A537 from Macclesfield in Cheshire to Buxton in Derbyshire.

But the Scottish Executive said the report was "misleading" and stressed that there were no deaths on the road between 1997 and 2000.

The worst 10 Scottish roads

1) A889 - A86 to A9 (Dalwhinnie)
2) A99 - A9 Latheron to Wick
3) A82 - Tyndrum to Tarbet
4) A86 - Spean Bridge to A9 Kingussie
5) A70 - Cumnock to Ayr
6) A952 - A90 Birness to A90 Lonmay
7) A85 - A82 to Oban
8) A882 - Wick to A9 Clayock
9) A816 - A83 to Oban
10) A77 - Stranraer to Ayr

According to the AA-led EuroRAP (European Road Assessment Programme), on the short stretch of road there were four fatal or serious accidents on the A889 between 1997 and 1999, but only 310 cars a day used it.

On the basis of the level of traffic on the roads, the number of accidents and the length of the A889, the AA said the risk of having an accident on the single-carriageway road was higher than anywhere else.

The EuroRAP gave star ratings for the safety performance of the road section, mainly outside built-up areas, in relation to the amount of traffic they carry and the length of the road measured.

The undulating and twisty A889, which links the A9 to the A86 in the Highlands, was judged the worst of the 23 roads in the UK which were awarded no stars in the survey.

Higher volumes

Some of Scotland's higher profile blackspots had more accidents but were used by far more vehicles.

Two other Scottish roads were in the worst 23.

The A99 from the A9 at Latheron to Wick in Caithness was ranked 12th worst and the A82 Tarbet to Tyndrum, from Loch Lomond to the edge of the Highlands, was 14th.

Of the 78 Scottish roads surveyed three were given no stars, four got a one-star rating, 22 got two-stars, 37 were assessed as three-star routes and 12 were awarded the four-star accolade.


Despite claims that their analysis takes into account traffic volumes, this is clearly not the case for the A889

Scottish Executive spokesman
Two roads - the A887 from Invermoriston at Loch Ness to the A87, and the A898 at the Erskine Bridge - were identified as Scotland's safest.

AA Policy Director and EuroRAP chairman John Dawson said people should not be dying on major routes because basic protection is absent from entirely predictable collisions.

He said: "We cannot demand five-star cars from manufacturers and then settle for one-star roads. The cars we drive, the way we drive and the roads we drive them on are all part of a single safety system."

Reduction plan

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "Despite claims that their analysis takes into account traffic volumes, this is clearly not the case for the A889.

"A route accident reduction plan was implemented on the stretch from 1999 to 2000, following four serious accidents in 1998, to treat the random nature of the accidents.

"This included bend assessment, installation of bend warning signs and slow signs."

He added that the road would be looked at in the future as part of the executive's continuous monitoring of accident areas and potential accident spots.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Craig Anderson reports
"They compared figures for serious accidents with the number of vehicles using the route."
Neil Greig, AA head of policy for Scotland
"We believe it is time that the roads caught up with the cars"
See also:

20 Sep 01 | Scotland
Four killed in Highland crash
10 Sep 01 | Scotland
Bid to cut child road deaths
26 Apr 01 | Scotland
Road deaths at 50 year low
17 Apr 01 | Scotland
Campaign to cut road deaths
19 Dec 00 | Scotland
Speeding offences increase
07 Oct 00 | Scotland
Councils make roads cash call
05 Dec 00 | Scotland
Lords in drink drive ruling
08 Jun 00 | Scotland
Murders up as overall crime falls
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