The first significant change in road signs regulations in many years comes into effect on Friday the 22nd of April.
The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 allow local authorities to make local decisions on how many speed limit signs are required.
Up to now it has been pretty simple. If there are street lights and it is a built up area, then you are in a 30 mph zone unless there are repeater signs to tell you otherwise. Typically those signs will say that it is a 40 mph or (increasingly) a 20 mph zone. However, these regulations remove the need for those regular repeater signs.
Drivers are now going to find that local councils adopt different systems, and so it will be much harder to know what the speed limit is. Whilst it might just be a nuisance to drive at 30 mph only to find it was actually a 40 mph zone, the potential consequences of accidentally driving at 30 mph in a 20 mph zone are more serious. Drivers found doing this will of course find themselves facing penalty points and a fine for speeding. In turn, this will increase the number of drivers who face a totting disqualification.
The Transport Secretary gave the game away when he said, “These new rules will also save £30m in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely.” It appears that the Government is keen to save money on signs, but at the risk of far more confusion amongst drivers.
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