Not everyone in the Labour Party is occupied with their full scale civil war emanating from Westminster. Dave Stewart has other things on his mind. Here's a press release we received:
Highlands, Islands and Moray MSP, David Stewart, who is also a seasoned road safety campaigner, has been advised by the Minister for Transport, Humza Yousaf, that the Government have no plans to consider an increase in HGV speed for the A96.
“I wrote to the Minister back on 24th May 2016, suggesting a pilot HGV speed increase from 40mph to 50mph, similar to that on the A9, would help reduce frustration and as a direct result road collisions,” said David Stewart.
“From previous work I have done with experts at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) I am advised that if you reduce the difference between the speed of vehicles then the traffic flows smoother. For example, on the A9 if cars travel at 60mph and HGV’s 50mph, on non dual carriageway sections, the speed differential is 10mph. However, if cars can legally travel at 60mph and HGV’s at only 40mph then the differential is larger and there is more likelihood of congestion and congestion equals frustration which contributes to road collisions.”
“In his reply to me, the Minister states ‘one life lost is one too many and as you may be aware inappropriate speed is a major cause of death or injury on roads’.
“Of course excessive speed is a contributory factor, but I am not talking about excessive speed, I am talking about a balanced approach and increasing the HGV speed on the A96 by 10mph,” said David Stewart.
“I am disappointed that this Minister and his predecessor keep peddling the line that the Department of Transport’s impact assessment for the rises in HGV speed in England and Wales forecasts an increase in fatal and serious road collisions. The expert from the Transport Research Laboratory whom I am dealing with, advised me that ‘In order to fully assess the potential safety risk of increasing the speed limit of HGVs on single carriageway de-restricted roads, large samples of accident data for all injury severities would need to be combined with behavioural studies, traffic flow simulations and injury risk curves. However, not all this data is available and other information sources would require extensive research.” outside the scope of this study.’
‘Basically, an overall impact assessment of all roads combined is unlikely to be accurate enough to understand the effect of a universal speed limit change; instead analysis is necessary on a road by road basis to take account of the characteristics of each road.’
David Stewart went on to say “The bottom line is that the Government have no desire or motivation to ease congestion on the A96 until the route is dualled by 2030, so in effect they are happy that commuters and other users just get on with it for another 14 years. The increase in speed of HGV’s on the A9 has contributed to a reduction of road casualties on that route, even although the Government and the A9 Road Safety Group only want to highlight what they call the success of the average speed cameras. With that in mind and my knowledge that reducing the differential between the speed of vehicles eases congestion, I plan on continuing my work and that of my team on this issue and I will look for support from businesses, hauliers and other road users.”