Government forms Taskforce to deal with Overuse of Traffic Signs

September 9, 2015

The government has announced the formation of a taskforce focused on dealing with the overuse of traffic signs. They have highlighted that this is their next step ‘towards obliterating pointless road signs’ and made the announcement on 28th August, with the taskforce set up that day.

The taskforce is to be led by Sir Alan Duncan MP who will be responsible for tackling the issue whilst a consultation has proposed a number of different measures for controlling and limiting the number of signs that end up on our roads. The measures include ensuring road signs which are up considerably longer than necessary have an official ‘remove by’ date, making sure traffic signs are fully visible on unlit roads and also the stopping of temporary message signs being cluttered with adverts and unnecessary logos which can cause distraction.

The government is focused on decluttering our roads in a bid to make them safer and easier to use and the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has described useless traffic signs as a ‘blight’ on the landscape as well as a ‘dangerous distraction to drivers.’ Sir Alan Duncan has been chosen to lead the taskforce after his consistent campaigning on the issue and the knowledge this has given him and he has said he is ‘delighted’ to lead the initiative.

Research carried out by the Department of Transport in 2013 found that the number of signs on our roads has doubled in the last 20 years and this is proving more distracting than useful and this new taskforce is a step in the right direction for road safety and usability.

Road Signs Overuse

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Whilst there are varied statistics on how dangerous driver distraction can be, RoSPA cite the 100-Car Naturalist Study in the USA which collected around 42,300 hours of driving data and found that 78% of the crashes in this time and 65% of the near crashes had at least one form of distraction or inattention as a contributing factor.

Cluttered up road signs means users have to slow down, may get anxious or confused and therefore may miss hazards and be involved in an accident. The new taskforce was put to work almost immediately and will present its finding to the government by December 2015, with the consultation itself closing on October 6th to collate findings and make recommendations.

There are many factors on our roads which make them more dangerous than they should be but something as simple as better signage and less confusion could make a huge difference to the flow of traffic and the safety of our roads.