John welcomes police commitment on dangerously slow driving

John Finnie three-quarterJohn Finnie has urged police to take seriously the issue of dangerously slow driving on roads like the A82, and says he welcomes Police Scotland’s positive response.

John wrote to Police Scotland leadership to raise the issue of slow driving, which is especially prevalent on scenic roads during the tourist season.

In reply, the Local Area Commander for road policing in the North, Chief Inspector Louis Blakelock, recognised the problem, saying:

“You correctly raise the point that inappropriate speed, like driving too slow, does as you suggest lead to frustration and irresponsible driver behaviour.

“Driving slowly, causing tailbacks and frustration is a behaviour that falls within the provisions of Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (Careless Driving) and this type of behaviour is one that is routinely addressed by Police Officers patrolling the A82 and other roads.

“I wish to reassure you that Police Officers tasked with patrolling the A82 will be made aware of your concerns and they will continue to challenge inappropriate speed in the circumstances you describe as part of their core duties on the A82 and other trunk roads”

John said:

“While excessive speed remains one of the biggest threats to safety on our roads, driving too slowly on trunk roads is also a significant problem.

“During tourist season especially, queues can readily form on our trunk roads behind vehicles travelling 30mph whose occupants are effectively sight-seeing.

“This of course causes great frustration and can lead to increased danger from behaviours such as irresponsible overtaking.

“I’m pleased with Ch Insp Blakelock’s positive response to the issue, and I hope the increase in dedicated Road Policing Officers will help keep vital roads like the A82 flowing smoothly and safely.”

A third of Scotland’s roads in need of repair

This graph from the Audit Scotland's Maintaining Scotland's Roads: a follow-up report shows how road maintenance spending has declined.
This graph from the Audit Scotland’s Maintaining Scotland’s Roads: a follow-up report shows how road maintenance spending has declined.
John Finnie has called for urgent repairs to take priority over new roadbuilding, after a damning report found that 37% of council-maintained roads are in an unacceptable condition.

The Audit Scotland report Maintaining Scotland’s Roads: a follow-up report reveals how local authority spending on roads maintenance “continues to decrease” and that councils spent £33 million less on maintenance in 2014/15 than the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation Scotland (SCOTS) “considers necessary to maintain the current condition of local roads”.

Meanwhile, Transport Scotland, who are responsible for major routes, spent £24 million less than is needed to maintain the condition of trunk roads.

Argyll & Bute and Eilean Siar are the council areas with the highest and third-highest proportion of local roads in unacceptable condition, with over half the roads in Argyll and Bute in need of repair. This tallies with maintenance spending in these council areas: Argyll and Bute has the biggest gap in the country between current repair spending and what SCOTS says is necessary, and Highland the third-biggest gap. Both councils spends more than £10m less than is necessary to maintain the roads in their current condition. Orkney has the lowest number of roads in unacceptable condition, with almost four out of five roads making the grade.

John is the Scottish Greens’ spokesperson on transport. He said:

“The findings of this report will not surprise many. What’s important now is that action is taken to allocate adequate resources to ensure that Scotland’s roads are fit for purpose.

“With the tightening of local authority budgets, it’s understandable that many councils have struggled to keep up with road maintenance.

“That’s why Scottish Greens are fully supportive of expenditure being used to maintain our existing infrastructure rather than spending obscene sums on building new roads.”