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Calls to address ‘clear speeding problem’ on AWPR

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More than 270 drivers have been caught speeding on the Aberdeen bypass since it opened 18 months ago.

The shock figures last night prompted calls for action to cut down on the number of motorists using the AWPR as a “race track”.

When the 36-mile route from Stonehaven to Blackdog opened, Transport Scotland said it had “no plans” to introduce speed cameras.

The body said it would carry out a yearly safety review.

But now shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr is demanding action to crackdown on speeders.

The North East MSP said: “The figures are very alarming and show there is a clear problem with speeding on the AWPR.

“The AWPR is being treated as a racetrack with some drivers taking the opportunity to use it as a drag-strip putting lives at risk.

“Since opening, there have been design issues with the AWPR such as the Kingswells junction, which myself and Alexander Burnett have pressed the SNP government on.

“These safety issues are exacerbated when speed is added to the situation, making the area all the more dangerous.

“It’s clear the police are doing everything they can to protect the safety of other road users and officers deserve great praise for this.

“The road is cutting journey times already without the need to speed and as the route gets busier my concern is the situation will get worse.”

The figures, obtained by the Scottish Conservatives, show 271 motorists have been caught speeding on the road.

Among these drivers was “utterly irresponsible” Michael Gray who was caught speeding at 153mph on the route between Cleanhill and Charleston.

The 26-year-old was banned from the roads for two years after the incident, which was captured on a mobile speed camera.

The figures show that in total, 239 fixed penalty issued have been issued while a further 32 speeding offences were reported to the procurator fiscal.

Liam Kerr

Last week, Aberdeen City Council announced that new traffic lights would be installed at the Kingswells South junction, where the bypass joins the A944.

The Kingswells south junction of the AWPR

Funded by Transport Scotland, the decision came after “numerous” complaints and crashes on the road.

Neil Greig, policy and research director at road safety charity IAM Road Smart, had balanced views about the road’s effect on north-east drivers.

He said: “It is difficult to say how the AWPR compares with other roads in Scotland but these figures do show the continued need for a high profile police presence and speed cameras on the new route.

“Overall IAM RoadSmart believe the AWPR has been a major boost to road safety in Aberdeen and the surrounding area and the vast majority of its users are behaving in a responsible way.

“Excessive speeding is criminally selfish behaviour and those caught deserve the full force of the law to be brought to bear on them.”

Superintendent Simon Bradshaw said: “The dangers of speeding are well-known and a major contributory factor to serious and fatal collisions.

“People who speed not only put themselves at risk, but also other members of the public.

“We will continue to carry out targeted patrols to educate people about the dangers of speeding and carry out enforcement action when needed.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman added: “Road safety is of paramount importance to the Scottish Government.

“Since August, 2018, there have been 271 speeding offences recorded on the AWPR – the equivalent of approximately 0.5 offences per day.

“With the police, we embrace a partnership approach to issues surrounding driver behaviour and engage regularly with our partners to identify what additional mitigation measures may be appropriate in specific circumstances.”

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