More than 400 people have backed a campaign calling for action to tackle speeding on Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66.
Rachael Smart, from Caithness, started the petition to Highland Council to stop vehicles speeding through villages on the North Coast 500 – and claimed locals as well as visitors were to blame.
“People should slow down through villages but still think it’s OK to do 60/70mph or more,” she wrote.
“So many of our pets are being hit and dying – like my cat – and so many more animals because vehicles are not slowing down, we have children crossing the roads, people need to slow down – it’s not a race track. It’s not just visitors, it’s locals too.
“The speed limit signs are not enough for people. We need more in villages to stop people speeding and so no one gets hurt.
“I have lived on the main road going through Lybster for 11 weeks only, and in this time I have seen so many near misses outside my house, animals, people and other vehicles.
“Vehicles are killers with irresponsible drivers that will not take their time through our villages our home. All it takes is to read the speed limits and do the speed limits, but this is not enough for some people.
“Please share with everyone you know on the NC500 route, every town and village we need to put a stop to this now.”
Special Constables at ‘key pinch points’ could be answer to NC500 issues
Now Hugh Morrison, vice-chairman of both the Sutherland county committee and the communities and place Ccmmittee, said the volunteer police officers working in conjunction with council rangers could help solve many of this year’s problems around the road trip.
Mr Morrison, who also runs the Smoo Cave Hotel in Durness – and represents north, west and central Sutherland – said the team of rangers hired by Highland Council this season had done “a good job”.
“But if special constables were recruited along the NC500 – especially in the key pinch points – they could work hand-in-hand with the rangers and we would have a system of both council and police powers operating together,” he said.
“It has been busier this year – especially with campervans and motorhomes – and while there have not been the same level of problems as last year there have been at certain hot spots, especially with human waste.
“The ranger system was brought in to advise people, not antagonise them. Many tourists just need to be educated better to the challenges of the route and their impact on communities.
“The police have limited resources and make sporadic days out. That is why special constables would help in certain locations. We are all trying to reduce the impact on communities and make sure they enjoy the benefits of the NC500.”
In the last crackdown officers checked 72 vehicles and found 32 were committing offences.
The operation came soon after a hire firm started warning customers to stay away from the NC500 following two of its motor homes having had tyres slashed and others pelted with eggs.