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Grieving mum calls for action to improve A82 following tragic death of Inverness family

By Louise Glen

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Sammy Cousin. Picture: Gary Anthony.
Sammy Cousin. Picture: Gary Anthony.

A ROAD safety campaigning grandma has requested an opportunity to speak to transport minister face-to-face to discuss how the A82 can be improved.

Samantha Cousin lost her son Rhys Cousin (25), daughter-in-law Gemma (26) and grandchildren Peyton (3) and Heidi (1), of Inverness, in an accident on the A82, near Fort William, in February.

She has now written to MSP Michael Matheson to tell him how devastating it was for their family and is calling on him to widen roads to make it safer.

“The A82 was not a road I was particularly aware of prior to the accident, other than its reputation as a dangerous, slow and patchy road,” she said in her letter.

“Since the accident I have taken much more notice of the almost daily accidents and incidents on the road, especially before the lockdown.

“People in my family died because the road is unsafe. There were no mechanical errors, there were mitigating factors of bad weather. It might not be unsafe in all the measures that are used, but it is unsafe because it is an ancient road trying to work for a modern Scotland. The road needs to be fully upgraded and widened.

“It needs to be treated the same as the A9. If we want people to go to the west Highlands it needs to have a suitable road.

“I believe that there are a number of problems with the road, including soft verges, narrow passes, lack of protections through towns and villages and few places to take a break or stop by the roadside.

“I cannot sleep at night for thinking other people could go through something like what has happened to my family.

“I will understand if you think I am a grieving mum who is just looking for someone to blame, and while that is of course true in part – I am also wanting to do the best for Scotland by making sure the roads that we have are fit for purpose.”

She added: “I would appreciate a convenient time to meet you, either over Skype or in person, to find out what I can do to make the substantial change that is required to improve the general safety on the road.”

Mr Matheson’s office confirmed they had received the letter, and a spokeswoman said: “Our sympathies lie with Ms Cousin and anyone affected by this accident.

“Road safety is of paramount importance and that is why we annually assess the safety performance of our trunk roads by screening all locations where three or more personal injury accidents have occurred in a three-year period.

“Alongside accident clusters, we also look at accident patterns and rates. Further investigations are then carried out and, where appropriate, mitigation measures are prioritised for delivery.

“This robust, evidence-based approach ensures that available funding is prioritised towards locations with the potential to deliver the greatest casualty accident savings.”

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