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Goodbye Pointless Road Signs

Waving Bye Bye to Pointless Road Signs

Pointless road signs, no entry at a dead end?

We have all experienced it, that mad panic when you are trying to get somewhere, relying on the road signs but there are too many -  you only manage to read half the information they contain. Then, of course, you inevitably end up taking the wrong turning because you couldn’t quite work out which one you needed. Well the good news is that all that is about to change - or is it good news? Will removing some of those pointless road signs lead to confusion, and maybe even some unfairly dished out penalties?

Traffic Signs Regulators and General Directions 2016

In May 2016, the Department for Transport wrote the Traffic Signs Regulators and General Directions (TSRGD) 2016, the document that outlines the new rules regarding those road signs that are unnecessary or undated and how, and when, they can be removed from our roads.

It is estimated that the number of signs on our roads which was around 2.45 million In England in 1993 had more than doubled by 2013 to around 4.57 million. The new and much simpler rules will give local councils the power to take down any unnecessary signs. For example, signs that refer to “new” layout ahead will now have remove by dates on the back to prevent the confusion that is caused by leaving them in lace for many years. It is hoped that by removing some of these pointless road signs drivers will be less distracted, there will be less of an eyesore and that by 2020 around £30 million of tax payer’s money will be saved. If there are fewer signs that need to be lit up at night then energy costs and light pollution should decrease.

Which road signs will the new rules affect?

Lots of road signs together

Signs advising of a new roundabout of new layout, are often left up for years; under the new guideline it is recommended that they are taken down within 3 months. Each one will have a remove by date on the back, and residents will be able to hold their local authority accountable if they are not removed. Some other signs that fall into this category include:

  • New road layout ahead

  • New traffic islands ahead

  • Signal timings changed ahead

  • New zebra crossing ahead

  • Gap closed ahead

  • Changed priorities ahead

What will this mean for motorists?

Obviously as motorists we are used to this glut of excess signage so it is important to consider the impact the sudden removal of many road signs could make. Whilst it is all very well to remove the signs that have outstayed their requirements it is important that safety-vital signage is not removed to make the roadsides less cluttered.

The most controversial one is that surrounding the removal of repeat speed limit signs, it has been shown that drivers often need to be reminded of the speed limit, and in view of the governments new stance on enforcing the speed limits more closely there is a distinct possibility that this could lead to confusion which could see penalties being dished out somewhat unfairly.

What’s your take on removal of these ‘pointless’ signs? Will it help you concentrate better on the road, or do you think you’ll end up paying for it?