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£930m worth of truck road improvements coming in 2020

The trunk road network in the south of Scotland is set to benefit from over £930 million worth of improvements after two new road maintenance contracts were agreed.

More than 2,000 miles of trunk road will be improved as a result of the work, which is expected to last for at least eight years.

The value of the contract could rise to as much as £1.4 billion if Transport Scotland exercises its option to extend the work to 12 years.

Work isn’t expected to begin until 2020, but Transport Scotland has warned Scottish motorists that when it does commence, they can expect a range of measures aimed at minimising disruption and ensuring consistent, predictable and reliable journeys.

The authority added that the new contracts also include a renewed focus on achievement of climate change and sustainability targets.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, commented: “This latest generation of our operating company contracts will bring an improved level of service across 3,500km (2,174 miles) of trunk road.

“The two contracts will directly support around 650 operational and professional jobs in Scotland. They will also contribute significantly to the economy through the wider supply chain, with local firms benefiting on a regular basis.

“I am confident these contracts will continue to deliver both a high quality and value for money trunk road maintenance service.”

Transport Scotland is expected to put out the contracts for tender soon, with winning bidders set to be announced in early 2020.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Dieselink, commented: “This work is a long way off but it will greatly benefit motorists in Scotland once it is complete.”

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Over 20 speeding drivers stopped outside an Inverness school in one hour

Over 20 speeding drivers stopped outside an Inverness school in one hour

Concerns over speeding near schools have been raised yet again after police stopped more than 20 drivers outside an Inverness school during its pupils’ lunch break.

According to the BBC, officers pulled over 24 motorists near Hilton Primary on Thursday [23rd August].

Certain instances of speeding were so extreme that they warranted one of the drivers to be reported to the procurator fiscal, while two have received a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice. The rest were given warnings.

Police have been carrying out speed checks outside schools across Inverness all week since pupils returned from their summer break.

Speaking to the BBC, road policing sergeant Gus Murray said it was “incredibly disappointing” to have had to stop so many motorists for irresponsible driving near a primary school in such a short space of time.

He commented: “All motorists need to be persuaded that driving at inappropriate speeds is not a minor, technical offence that everyone commits. It is a serious, dangerous and antisocial activity.

“We will continue to carry out enforcement activity near schools to stop those who continue to ignore the dangers.”

Despite the concerns, road safety in Scotland seems to be heading in the right direction overall, with road deaths hitting a record low in 2017.

Transport Scotland reports that 146 people died as a result of road accidents in the country last year; 45 fewer than in 2016, marking a decrease of 24 per cent.

On a similar note, casualties dropped by 14 per cent too, from 10,905 in 2016 to 9,391 in 2017 – 899 of which were children – while the number of people seriously injured fell by seven per cent to 1,580.

Ben Robb, brand manager at Dieselink, commented: “It’s disappointing that some drivers think that speeding outside schools – during lunch break, no less – is acceptable.”

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Scotland features heavily in UK’s most dangerous roads list

Scotland features heavily in UK’s most dangerous roads list

Scotland is home to 11 of the 25 most dangerous roads in the UK, according to a new report.

Using fatality figures gathered by the UK Department for Transport between 2012 and 2016, the report from Teletrac Navman claimed that the Orkney Islands is the deadliest county in Scotland, with 4,110 fatal traffic accidents per 10,000 residents.

This ranked it fourth for the whole of the UK behind Rutland, Powys and Fermanagh & Omagh.

Other Scottish counties in the 25 most dangerous list were Argyll & Bute (5th), Perth and Kinross (7), Dumfries and Galloway (9), Scottish Borders (10), Stirling (12), Na h-Eileanan an Iar (15), Angus (17) and the Shetland Islands (24).

In contrast to Scotland’s numerous appearances on the list, Clackmannanshire – Scotland’s smallest county – was named the safest area in the UK, with no fatalities over the same four-year period.

Shocking or flawed?

Marjorie McCreadie, secretary from the A7 Action Group – which has been working to make the A7 in the Scottish Borders a safer driving route, said she was shocked by the study.

“This shocking statistic will now give the A7 Action Group more ammunition and allow us to apply more pressure on the Scottish Government to upgrade the road to a much safer standard,” she told BorderTelegraph.com.

The Scottish Borders Council criticised the study’s methodology as “fundamentally flawed”.

A spokesperson said: “It uses fatality rate per population as the measure so it is no surprise that many areas with large road networks, particularly those with a large rural network, and low populations are listed as the ‘deadliest’.

“Proper analysis, using annual average daily traffic flow, identifies that the A7, through the Scottish Borders, is no more dangerous than other major routes in the area.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Dieselink, added: “The number of deaths and casualties on Scotland’s roads hit a record low last year, so we’re clearly heading in the right direction.”

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How dashcams could soon help make Scotland’s roads safer

Motorists in Scotland could soon be invited to submit dashcam footage to the police over the internet to help enforce driving offences.

The idea has been a success in Wales, with Operation Snap resulting in 38 prosecutions, 28 fixed penalties and 86 being told to attend retraining courses since 2016.

Dashcams are increasingly common on Scotland’s roads, with around a fifth of Scottish motorists using them. An AA survey revealed that dashcams are most prolific in north-east England where cameras are installed on just short of a quarter of motorists’ dashboards.

However, the primary reason people have a dashcam is for insurance purposes (60 per cent), with only around two per cent of UK drivers saying their main reason was to record evidence of bad driving.

When the Press & Journal asked Police Scotland if the Operation Snap idea would be adopted north of the border, a spokeswoman responded: “We are looking at various opportunities to allow dashcam footage to be provided to Police Scotland and used as evidence.”

In addition to footage shot in cars, police in Wales can also accept footage taken from helmet-mounted cameras worn by bikers.

The number of people injured on Scotland’s roads dropped by 1,514 in 2017, compared to the year before, with figures from Transport Scotland showing 9,391 casualties across the country including 146 fatalities.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin seemed supportive of the idea, telling the Press & Journal: “Road safety in the north-east is paramount, and we should make sure a zero-tolerance approach is taken on dangerous driving.

“Allowing drivers to submit footage from their dashcams, which could be used as evidence against offenders, could result in more prosecutions in criminal cases and make our roads safer.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, added: “Operation Snap has clearly worked and brought results, so there’s a solid case for introducing the idea in Scotland too.”

About Fuel Card Services – Scotland

Fuel Card Services – Scotland, a name for Scottish values

Fuel Card Services –  Scotland formally known as Dieselink, founded in 1998 by Bernard Brogan Ltd, has been keeping down the price of fuel for customers throughout Scotland and the UK since the 1920s.

Now part of DCC the international business services group, it continues to deliver outstanding value, service and quality from its headquarters in North Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Fleet managers in Scotland and the rest of the UK know that they can trust FCS to provide their business with the best possible fuel card. Find out more here.

Multi-million port upgrade will free up Scotland’s roads

Congestion on Scotland’s roads is expected to decrease next year following the Scottish government’s plans to shift a portion of freight from the tarmac to the water.

The Montrose Port Authority (MPA) has received a £1.5 million Ports Mode Shift Grant from the Scottish Government to allow larger cargo vessels to dock at the port.

This comes in addition to a previous grant to the value of £5.9 million.

Over a five-year period, the move is expected to remove 86,000 lorry journeys and 1.26 million tonnes of freight from Scotland’s roads, freeing up space for company car drivers and other motorists.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said the investment is part of the government’s efforts to transfer freight from the road to other modes of transport.

He commented: “This is a great example of us delivering on that promise and helping MPA deliver millions of pounds of environmental benefits.”

Mr Yousaf went to say that the grant would safeguard more than 30 jobs and help the Port of Montrose remain relevant and competitive in the current marketplace, which is seeing an increase in the size of cargo vessels.

The changes to MPA’s quaysides are expected to be completed in summer 2019.

Ben Robb, brand manager at Dieselink, added: “Scotland’s motorists will appreciate the drop in congestion unlocked by this move, but the road surfaces themselves will also benefit due to not being damaged by HGVs.”