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DRIVER PROSECUTION IS A FIRST IN THE NORTH WEST

A motorist has become the first driver on the region’s motorways to be prosecuted after a complaint by Highways Agency Traffic Officers.

The man appeared at Tameside Magistrates’ Court in March and admitted driving under intermittent red crosses signifying a lane closure ahead.

He was travelling clockwise near junction 22 of the M60 between Oldham and Ashton at around 8.20pm on November 9. A patrol of Highways Agency Traffic Officers was carrying out a rolling road block to allow contractors ahead to safely cone off the outside lane for roadworks.

Staff at the HA’s North West Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows had set a series of signs above the lane warning drivers to switch lanes and slow down as well as the red crosses warning of the lane closure ahead. However, the driver ignored these and was then reported by the Traffic Officers to Greater Manchester Police.

The driver was fined £60 and three penalty points were added to his driving licence at the magistrates’ court hearing in March.

Dave Ryder, Network Operations Manager for the North West Traffic Office Service, said, “This case will raise awareness of the powers of Highways Agency Traffic Officers and hopefully strongly influence drivers to observe the directions given by them when engaged in the direction of traffic and in the management of incidents.

“Traffic Officers’ duties include the setting of signs and signals and effecting closures and directing traffic in order to ensure the safety of the public, themselves and other roadworkers.

“Drivers therefore need to understand they run the risk of prosecution, which includes the imposition of penalty points on their licence, which could lead to a driving ban, should they fail to heed signs and or Traffic Officers’ instructions.”

Arthur Ashburner, Director of Traffic Operations North which runs the North West Traffic Officer Service, said, “In 2005 five roadworkers lost their lives on England’s major roads. All were caused through operatives being struck by third party vehicles. We also had 12 major injuries and a further 29 injuries causing absence from work for more than three days.

“We are totally committed to protecting personnel carrying out repairs and improvements or tackling incidents. Their work is vital to keep the motorways open and traffic moving but they cannot do that unless they are confident they can do so in a safe environment. They should not have to live in fear of drivers ignoring road signs.”

SOURCE: Highways Agency
 

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Trouble is these overhead signs are often used in such a haphazard (no pun intended) and unreliable way they tend to get ignored. I've lost count of the number of times I've been stationary under a sign that says "Queue Ahead" or overheads indicating 40mph on a free-moving traffic stream only to have things snarl up AFTER the End signs.

They need to used more astutely in order for people to be able to rely on them and take them seriously.

The big message signs are a real pain - I've had one cause a bottleneck due to it showning details about some sort of festival in a few days time - no-one could recognise the message at a glance so the whole motorway ground to a halt while people slowed down to read it in case it was important.

Rant over.
 

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mg_zt
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^^ Agreed. People lose respect when you get 2 overhead signs in a row saying 40 for no apparant reason. The signs themselves would cause traffic if people had paid attention to them.
 

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The 40mph signs on motoways are designed to slow traffic down well behind another 'slow down' a few miles ahead, preventing that dangerous surging effect that happens when you speed up, then slow down, only to speed up again etc.

You do not have to see an obstruction or hazard to abide by it. Just because it seems arbitary or pointless doesn't mean there is no danger ahead. Others have done that and are trying to manage the motorways so everyone is moving safely and consistantly.
 

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rover_45
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People might not like to see signs telling them to do "40" on an apparent clear stretch of motorway, however as already stated by slowing traffic down, ahead of any build up, it allows for traffic to continue to move, albeit slowly, rather than the stop / sit in queue / move a little bit, that often happens when the speed signs are ignored.

A sigh showing lane closed , should also be adhered to, and in my opinion , it serves the driver right, for ignoring a number of signs, telling him to move lane.

Perhaps he should also have been sent to do a driving refresher course, or given "R" plates to drive on for a while, until his attitude improved.
 
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