The Department for Transport (DfT) has responded to concerns over new traffic sign regulations, which come into force on 22 April, calling the changes ‘common-sense reforms’ made in close consultation with councils.
Some in the highways sector have previously raised concerns that the greater freedoms the new Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) provide could lead to a rise in litigation as drivers dispute local interpretations.
While Transport Network sources have suggested the reforms to parking bay regulations are likely to produce the most appeals, changes to speed limit repeater signs – reminding drivers of the speed limit at various stages - could be more critical.
The new regulations remove the requirement for councils to place repeater signs, however local authorities are free to still use the signage in line with the recommendations in the Traffic Signs Manual.
One of the issues raised by the sector is that motorists could expect these speed limit signs to still be present at the frequency recommended in the Traffic Signs Manual, which could leave courts deciding on what is reasonable.
However a spokesperson for road safety charity Brake, said: ‘Regardless of the number and frequency of speed limit signage, it’s the responsibly of any driver to know the legal limit of the road that they are driving on.
‘Breaking the speed limit by any amount is a serious offence. Drivers who travel above the speed limit are taking huge risks, putting themselves and others in danger.’
A DfT spokesperson said: ‘The number of road signs has more than doubled over the last two decades, and these common-sense reforms will give councils the flexibility to cut unnecessary clutter while ensuring signs and markings remain clear and consistent.
‘These changes have been made in close consultation with local councils and other authorities, and are part of a package of measures designed to cut red tape and improve safety.’