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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Number of incidents on the A90: EIR release

Published: 22 Nov 2017

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02589
Date received: 27 November 2017
Date responded: 30 October 2017

Information requested

I have read the information about the cameras for the A90, along with claims that the use of cameras on the A9 and A77 have seen reductions in accident rates, but nothing to suggest any considerations has been put into the differences in the roads involved.

I believe that according to Scottish Govt figures, exceeding the speed limit is a contributory factor in only 2% of accidents.

I am formally requesting what information you hold on the number of accidents on the A90 of which "exceeding the speed limit" is a contributory factor, and the equivalent figures for all contributory factors.

Specifically:

  1. How many collisions and incidents have there been on the A90 on the stretches which will now be covered by average speed cameras, broken down by year for the last five years. Please provide a breakdown of the number of both injuries and fatalities for each year.

  2. Please provide a breakdown of the contributory factors in the incidents, by all of the factors for which you hold information. For example, a non-exhaustive list might include; vehicle exceeding the speed limit, vehicle traveling too fast for conditions (while not necessarily exceeding the speed limit), driver failed to judge path of approaching vehicle, driver not paying due care and attention, driver distracted, road condition poor, road design poor, following too closely, driver using mobile device, driver under influence of alcohol / drugs etc.

  3. Please also provide a breakdown of the number of vehicle miles on the aforementioned stretches for each year, or, if this is not available, whether vehicle numbers have increased or decreased during that time, and by what percentage. If this is an estimated figure, please provide details as to how the figure was estimated.

  4. While we all agree that we want safer roads, the information provided on your website does not provide the details required to ensure that the decision to move to average speed cameras, rather than improving the road or reducing other factors, is based on statistical evidence, suggesting that other courses of action would be more beneficial - I.e. would save more lives.

  5. I would like to know if the cameras will be 'smart' enough to enforce the varying speed limits which exist for different types of vehicles on dual carriageways, and whether the cameras will be able to identify other forms of dangerous driving, such as following too close, 'undertaking', using a mobile phone while driving.

  6. The A90Info page also claims that drivers will see the benefits of 'fewer fines, more reliable journeys and less stress'.

I would like to see the evidence to support the claim of less stress, as I am unaware of any research that has been carried out on this, and, while unscientific and not statistically significant, i am unaware of any driver who finds travelling within average speed camera zones less stressful than travelling on roads with a visible presence of police traffic professionals.

Response

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

1. Please find attached Annex A which contains collision information for the period from 1 January 2012 to the following dates:

  • up to and including 27 August 2017 for the Tayside legacy Police Force area; and
  • up to and including 26 August 2017 for the Grampian legacy Police Force area.

The total number of accidents during the time period requested is 160 and the total number of fatalities is 11. Details of the number of slight and serious injuries are also contained within Annex A.

Please note the following potential reasons for an accident not appearing on our system:

  • Transport Scotland only holds accident information which is provided to us by Police Scotland.
  • Transport Scotland does not hold information relating to damage only accidents (i.e. not involving an injury).
  • Transport Scotland only holds accident information for the trunk road network.
  • The accident information Transport Scotland hold is subject to change based on late returns from Police Scotland, who are responsible for recording details of injury accidents.

In addition to the attached report, there is also an additional collision which is not on our system from which the report was generated. Details of this are below;

Fatal collision on the Dundee to Aberdeen road A90 (northbound carriageway) about 2500m north of junction with the A928 Glamis road (about 200m north of service road leading to West Tarbrax), occurred on 01/02/2017 (Wednesday). There was one fatal casualty. We do not hold any contributory factors for this collision.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

2. Please also refer to Annex A which contains details of the contributory factors for all incidents.

3. Please refer to Annex B which contains a breakdown of the number of vehicle miles on the aforementioned stretches for 2012 – 2016. Annex B also highlights whether vehicle numbers have increased or decreased.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information for 2017 as you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4) (a) of the EIRs. The reason why that exception applies is that the information is still being collated and is unavailable at this time.

4. The rationale behind the technology change from fixed and mobile enforcement to average speed cameras on the A90 is set out at A90 Average speed cameras This decision is in accordance with the criteria set out in the Scottish Safety Camera Handbook which is available at:

5. The A90 ASC system is configured to have flexibility in its operation and is capable of detecting and enforcing speeds for all vehicle types. While the technology is focused on improving speed limit compliance it also provides Police Scotland with an opportunity to target its resources on tackling other dangerous behaviours such as tailgating and driving without due care and attention.

6. Research was undertaken on car drivers 'before' and 'after' attitudes to the average speed cameras on the A9. This found that road users saw an increase in the sense of enjoyment, satisfaction with journey time and feeling of safety following the introduction of average speed camera technology. This report is available at:

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
22 Nov 2017
Number of incidents on the A90: EIR release