With visitor numbers on the NC500 route expected to be high again this summer, a local MSP has highlighted the importance of driving responsibly.
Maree Todd, MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said fast drivers can be “really frightening” for those living along the popular tourist route around the north of Scotland.
She said that though the economy of many of these communities relies on the tourism the route brings in, some fail to remember that people living there need to be able to go about their daily lives.
“We want to welcome visitors, our economy needs visitors,” she told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland.
“But, people need to remember that this is our home and treat it with respect.”
Speeds of almost 150mph
Speeding on the NC500 is a common problem, with Mrs Todd explaining there are drivers going too fast and trying to complete the route within a certain time period “day in, day out”.
Earlier this month, an English estate owner was facing court over an allegation he reached speeds of almost 150mph on the road.
Mrs Todd said problems also arise when large convoys try to travel together, creating a gridlock when two groups meet, and also when people drive too slowly and fail to pull in and let traffic go by.
Visitor numbers to the region have risen in recent years, which has caused a number of problems according to Mrs Todd: “[The speeding is] on a background of a couple of years of quite high visitor numbers where we’ve had some challenges with litter and irresponsible behaviour.”
When asked what could be done to reduce this antisocial behaviour and speeding, she said investing in infrastructure, such as parking facilities and improving the road surface, would be an “important part” of the solution.
She added: “It is a difficult message to get across but we’re trying really hard with all sorts of means and working closely with partners.”