26 Aug 2010.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

ABD Supports Pickles and Hammond on Clutter Reduction
Ludicrous `Dayglo Arms Race` Harms Road Safety
The ABD today supported the stance of Eric Pickles and Philip Hammond, who have written to Councils urging them to reduce the clutter of signage on Britain's roads.

Whilst agreeing that excessive street furniture is unsightly and obstructive, the ABD wants to highlight the safety issues.

“Good, necessary, safety critical signage frequently gets lost in the clutter” said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. “Worse still, unnecessary signage is ignored by drivers, undermining the effectiveness of road safety regulations.”

Highway Authorities attempt to compensate for this by putting up ever larger and more intrusive signs to grab drivers' attention or bully them into complying.

“It`s a Dayglo Arms Race for drivers' attention” continued Humphries. “But its gone too far — the signs have become the problem not the solution.”

Speed limits are a good example of where signage has gone wrong. Set correctly and commencing in the right place, speed limits are a powerful road safety tool — they give the driver a lot of information in just one number (or they should).

But speed limits have been set incorrectly for political reasons, and so have become ignored by the majority. Their effectiveness at slowing traffic where it needs to slow is thus destroyed.

Instead of working with the driver's judgement to help him moderate speed correctly, speed limits have become a constant nag working against him — all respect has been lost.

The answer to this has been more speed limits and bigger and bigger signs to try to enforce compliance. This has reduced the impact of vital signs warning of specific hazards such as dangerous bends or junctions.

More recently, vehicle activated signs have come in which have proved highly effective in warning drivers of dangers — because they have "trumped" the speed limit signs and achieved "stand out". However, these useful devices have now been abused in the general attempt to bully drivers into complying with bad speed limits and so will lose their effectiveness at saving lives at genuine hazards.

“The whole situation needs to be reviewed and many signs need to go” concludes Humphries. “Then there needs to be a campaign teaching the public what signs are for and exhorting them to pay attention to them.”

Notes for Editors about the ABD