A bereaved mother’s A7 appeal

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It was with great sadness that I learned the A7 north of Galashiels had claimed another motorist’s life. How many lives must be lost before something is done to make this stretch of road safer?

A quick investigation revealed that over the last eight years, on average one life a year is lost due to fatal road traffic accidents on this stretch of the A7, not to mention the many minor and non-fatal accidents that occur or a regular basis.

My son Stuart is one of these fatal accident statistics. Stuart lost his life in September 2009 near the Gilston junction of the A7. Our family was devastated and the stress of travelling on the A7 daily after his accident became too great, leading to us moving from Clovenfords to near Oxton, in order to allow us to use the A68 as an alternative route to Edinburgh.

The A68 is a much straighter road with many sections having been improved over the years, with sections of dual carriageway and a number of fixed speed cameras. This would appear to lead to a safer road as the number of accidents you see is relatively small and the standard of driving is generally much better, with less speeding and dangerous overtaking when a comparison is made to the A7. These observations are not based on any statistics, but are thoughts of a mother who lost her son in a traffic accident on the A7.

While I understand that the landscape around the A7 north of Galashiels and the financial constraints on the local authority would not allow similar improvements to the A7, there must be some measures that could be put in place to save lives. The 14-mile stretch on the A7 from Galashiels to Middleton Moor is very twisty and relatively narrow.

My question is would a lower speed limit, installation of fixed speed cameras and warnings of accident blackspots make drivers more aware of the dangers of this road? These measures would not be expensive, but perhaps would lead to safer driving and less families suffering in the way we have done.

BBC Countryfile on February 12 screened a report of similar measures in Lincolnshire which have reduced accidents by 40 per cent on rural roads.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the latest victim of this road. On behalf of all the bereaved families, can I say please can someone do something to help stop these tragedies?

Isobel Hutchison