A82 rated as one of Britain’s ‘killer roads’ in BBC Panorama documentary


A key route through Dumbarton into Loch Lomond and the Highlands has been listed as one of Britain’s killer roads in a BBC documentary.

Last week the A82 was featured in Panorama’s investigation into the growing number of injuries and incidents on roads across the UK.

Official figures show there have been 30 fatal accidents on the route between 2016 and 2020, along with 97 classified as ‘moderately serious’, ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’.

Last year, a pedestrian and a motorist died within days of each other after incidents on the road near Luss.

A motorcyclist was also killed on the road near Renton last summer, while in 2020 the mother of 21-year-old Liam Scott, who was tragically killed near Duck Bay, launched a petition calling for road safety measures.

Kelly Scott spoke of her devastation after the incident, saying: “Making a trip to where the accident happened, we noticed how bad this road is.”

In 2019, Bellsmyre’s beloved grandmother, Theresa John, also lost her life in an incident on a stretch of highway near Dumbarton.

In the documentary, which aired on BBC One last Monday, presenter Richard Bilton says: “I am heading down what people here call the forgotten road.

“The landscape is incredible, it is a very beautiful place.

“But this route has a terrible stat. It is the most dangerous road in Scotland.

“The A82 has cost dozens of lives and captures the dangers of driving in Britain.

“There is bad driving and there is also the state of the road.

“This is one of the main roads going north and it’s really dangerous.”

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Richard joins John Barrell of the Road Safety Foundation, who calls for more speed cameras on the road.

He added: “The bottom line is money. You can’t put cameras everywhere you want at the same time.

“You have to prioritize. And it seems, at the moment, that the A82 is not the priority for these cameras”.

While Bilton said he felt uncomfortable driving on busy sections of the route.

He continued: “Apart from a couple of short stretches, Scotland’s most dangerous road has no fixed cameras.

“Like thousands of ancient routes, it is an ancient road in a modern world.

“I’m not really enjoying my driving on the A82. There are many sections that are narrow and intimidating.

“Speed ​​feels like a massive factor.

“It’s pretty scary.

“Other motorists just have to do something wrong and they both die.”

Commenting on the programme, Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie said: “It is absolutely appalling that so many people have died on the A82 in recent years, every one of those numbers represents someone whose loss will be very painful for their families.

“And of course there are also numerous incidents where people survive but are deeply affected by the events, whether due to serious injury or mental trauma.

“The Scottish Government needs to take a serious and urgent look at ways to improve this stretch of road, by the loch, both for the local people who use it regularly and for visitors who want to enjoy Loch Lomond.

“They must take action as soon as possible to prevent others from being killed or seriously harmed.”

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In response to the programme, Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham of Police Scotland said that the feature was largely focused on England and Wales, and that the centralized policing services in Scotland made comparison difficult.

He said there has been a steady decline in the number of road accidents across Scotland, despite the fact that road use has soared by 30 per cent in the last 25 years.

He told the Lennox Herald: “We are working with partners around long-term goals, specifically in terms of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured under the Scottish Government Framework.

“Road policing is a priority in Scotland, it is a dedicated department with dedicated resources.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The A82 travels over 160 miles through varied and frequently challenging scenery and can be subject to difficult driving conditions.

“From 2007 to September 2021, £159m has been invested in the management and maintenance of the A82 main road in the North West.”

He added that work is underway to develop improvements between Tarbert and Inverarnan, and further work will be identified as part of a review.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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