Transport Secretary to Axe Pointless Traffic Signs
Transport Secretary to axe pointless traffic signs that clutter the roads as it’s revealed they’ve more than doubled in number in 20 years to 4.5million
Fed up of road signs warning of obvious speed bumps and lane closures, or just informing you that the sign isn’t in use?
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has called for an end to ‘pointless’ signs – saying they confuse drivers and make the roads more dangerous.
Regulations are set to be tightened up, as it is revealed the number of signs cluttering Britain’s roads has more than doubled in 20 years to 4.5million.
This is around one sign for every seven cars on the roads.
Patrick McLoughlin said councils could clamp down on the constant alerts to motorists about loading restrictions, clearways, humps and speed limits, which are distracting and state the obvious. ‘Over the past two decades we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of unnecessary signs blotting the landscapes of our towns and cities’, he said. ‘Many of the signs that go up are simply not needed and it has got to stop. As well as spoiling otherwise beautiful areas of the country, pointless signs just confuse drivers and make the roads less safe.’
A survey last year by an insurance company found one in three drivers admitted having a crash or a near miss because of baffling road signs.
The Department for Transport admitted at the time that Britain has around 9,000 signs which are redundant or misleading and need to be revised. It was also revealed by the survey that most people have no idea what many road signs mean. The number of clearaway signs, in yellow and black which mean no stopping between certain times, has soared in the past 20 years, yet the survey suggested 83pc of people do not understand them. Nearly 7 in 10 people did not understand the red and blue circle which means no waiting, and half of drivers could not decipher a sign pointing out the correct lanes at a junction ahead.
A Transport department source said: ‘We’re pushing for councils to stop pointlessly putting up loads of road signs where fewer would do the job fine. ‘It has become an issue as councils appear to have designated people whose job it is to handle what signs go up, some of whom are probably overzealous. It can end up looking hideous and all it does is confuse drivers.’
The department issued new guidance to councils about cutting pointless road signs last year. Now they are going further by consulting on implementing central regulations. Drivers will be asked whether they want to get rid of the requirement for speed limit repeater signs, and also axe signs when there are already road markings which provide adequate guidance.
Research published today shows the number of signs for speed bumps has soared by 2,000 per cent in 20 years. There were under 5,000 in 1993, and nearly 100,000 today. The number of signs for clearways has risen from 3,444 to more than 110,000, priority restrictions from 1,572 to 23,000 and speed limit signs doubled from around 225,000 to 442,000.
The problem was symbolised two years ago by the village of Feock in Cornwall, which took on the council when the number of road signs reached a staggering 900 – one for every three residents. It was given the dubious honour of Britain’s most over-signed place, with its quaint country lanes and stunning views blighted by hundreds of duplicate direction sign posts and give way signs. But after a battle with the council, it agreed to remove nearly 200 pointless signs.