ALMOST two-thirds of road markings in Scotland are “barely visible” – putting the lives of motorists at risk.
And more than half of the nation’s motorways are affected by badly faded markings, with four major routes having sections that are almost unmarked.
Road safety organisations accused penny-pinching transport bosses of endangering the lives of drivers for the sake of “a tin of paint”.
The Road Safety Marking Association (RSMA) analysed 1030km of Scottish roads between July and September this year.
They concluded that 61% of road markings had faded to the point where they were no longer helping driver safety as intended.
Of Scotland’s 17 motorways and dual-carriageways, nine were found to have markings less than 50% effective.
Four had suffered between 80 – 90% line deterioration – the M90 north around junctions 1 to 2a, the A8 Edinburgh west, the A92 Dunfermline to Kirkcaldy in Fife, and A720 Edinburgh bypass heading west.
Markings on the A82 Dumbarton to Erskine Bridge were found to have suffered 70% deterioration.
Overall, the RSMA said 40% of road markings in Scotland need to be replaced “immediately”.
Two routes in Scotland were found to have ineffective markings for their entire length, including the A914 St Michaels to Dundee where two lorries crashed in January this year, badly injuring both drivers.
George Lee, national director of RSMA, said: “Taxpayers are paying, but the funds are simply not going on the roads.
“High-quality white lines have proved to be a simple, low-cost solution to improving the way a road user can ‘read’ the road.”
Mr Lee said road markings prevented drivers veering off roads and could make right turns much safer.
He added: “National standards are not being enforced and the quality of road markings is declining at an alarming rate.
“We strongly suspect that the layering of bureaucracy built into the system of maintaining…roads is stifling results.”
Motoring group the AA said it is likely officials fail to repair the roads because of cost issues.
A spokesman said: “We can’t underestimate the importance of giving drivers a clear line that they need to stop at when they approach a junction – especially for those who drive on unfamiliar roads.
“Half the reason the lines are fading is likely due to harsh Scottish wetter giving it a beating and the other half is that the costs faced by the council of maintaining them are high.
“But in the long run the costs of sending out an ambulance for someone involved in an accident as result of these faded markings far surpasses the costs of a tin of paint.”
The RSMA tests were carried out by measuring the reflection from tiny glass beads embedded in the paint.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Our operating companies have a contractual obligation to monitor the markings on their roads and their performance is monitored by the Performance Audit Group.
“Obviously it is disappointing that there are occasions where this does not meet the necessary standards but we will continue to press this issue.
“We do know that we have investment to make into this element of our asset, and this competes with other maintenance activity including the renewal and refurbishment of our road pavements.
“This year we invested £1million from our road safety budgets particularly to road lining to tackle the condition of our lining.”