§ LORD ALLERTON
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government—
- 1. Whether the accident rate on the A.9 road between Dunkeld and the Inverness-shire county boundary is in excess of the average rate per mile of trunk road;
- 2. Whether, taking into consideration the width of this stretch of road, the volume of traffic is in excess of the average.]
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SCOTLAND (LORD HUGHES)
My Lords, I will deal with this section of the A.9 in two parts. Between Dunkeld and Blair Atholl, where the volume of traffic is heavier, the accident rate over the last three years is below the average for Class I or trunk roads in rural areas. At the last census, taken in 1965 during August, when traffic is at its peak, this section was carrying more traffic than would be allowed for in designing new roads to the ideal standards; but this does not mean that the road was necessarily congested or dangerous. From Blair Atholl North to the county boundary, the accident rate over the last three years is average, and in August, 1965, this section was carrying about the same amount of traffic as we allow for in designing to ideal standards.
§ LORD ALLERTON
My Lords, in thanking the noble Lord for his reply, may I ask him whether I am right in thinking that on the main parts of this road between Dunkeld and the Inverness County boundary there were, between July 1, 1963, and June 30, 1967, 101 accidents, resulting in four deaths, 37 persons being seriously injured and 68 persons slightly injured? If these figures are right, they amount to three accidents per mile of road in one year. Is it really as bad as this everywhere else? And am I right in thinking that on the greater part of this road its width is insufficient to permit double white lines to be painted on it?
§ LORD HUGHES
My Lords, in relation to the second part of the Question, the noble Lord is right. Double white lines cannot be painted on roads unless it is certain that there are no places where vehicles have to cross them in order to proceed in the ordinary way. So far as the first part of the question is concerned, I have no doubt that the noble Lord has extracted his statistics correctly, although if he had asked me to furnish them, instead of giving them to me, I should have been unable to do so. Assuming that they are right, I must come back to the Answer that I have already given, which may be a condemnation of the situation over the country as a whole: that if people drive better in the circumstances in which they find themselves there will be fewer accidents.