South Devon Highway should have ‘moronic lane changing can kill signs installed’

A councillor has called for a road sign with a difference to be installed on the South Devon Highway.

Cllr Gordon Hook has called for ‘a real warning sign’ to be placed on the approach to the Penn Inn roundabout as the increase in accidents on the section of road is reaching ‘epidemic proportions’.

Average speed cameras will be installed on the South Devon Highway itself early in 2019, while the 70mph speed limit on the southbound approach to the Penn Inn will be slashed to 50mph.

South Devon Highway
South Devon Highway

But Cllr Hook said that as there have been two more accidents in the last 36 hours on the section of road between Wear Farm and the Penn Inn, he said he was concerned that the volume of crashes is approaching epidemic proportions and requires urgent action.

Cllr Hook said: “More accidents this week on the approach to Penn Inn mean the road’s reputation as a potential death trap continues to grow.

Cllr Gordon Hook

“I know speed limits are coming down and that will be a positive, but signage remains my concern.

“More than 90 per cent of the traffic incidents are being caused by poor driving by local residents. Last minute lane changing and simply irresponsible driving are putting lives at risk.

“Clearer signage must be positioned earlier on the approach to Newton Abbot from the Exeter direction, clearer and more ‘impactful’, if I can put it that way.

“In addition to the standard instructional signs I would again urge a real warning sign along the lines of ‘Moronic Lane Changing Can Kill’.

“While I’m not sure that will be accepted, it is something of that nature that is required in my opinion, but I do request urgent and early action on this accident black spot.”

Cllr Gordon Hook has suggested that signage on the approach to the Penn Inn roundabout should say 'Moronic Lane Changing Can Kill'
Cllr Gordon Hook has suggested that signage on the approach to the Penn Inn roundabout should say ‘Moronic Lane Changing Can Kill’

The dual carriageway approach to the Penn Inn directs traffic towards Newton Abbot, Totnes or Kingskerswell to stay in the left hand lane, while traffic to Torquay should stay in the right hand lane.

Read More

More from Teignbridge

In November, Teignbridge Highways and Traffic Orders Committee agreed that to reduce traffic speeds and to reduce the likelihood of a collision on the South Devon Highway and on Besigheim Way, the 70mph speed limit on the southbound approach to the Penn Inn should be slashed to 50mph.

The locations for the four sites

Site 1 – at the start of the 50mph enforcement zone, near Edginswell, to the south of Kingskerswell.

Site 2 – at the end of the 50mph speed limit zone, near Penn Inn, to the north of Kingskerswell.

Site 3 – before the junction with Penn Inn, to the north of Kingskerswell. This site is needed for the cameras to cover vehicles joining and leaving the South Devon Highway at this junction.

Site 4 – located to the south of the Kingskerswell junction. These cameras will cover vehicles exiting and joining the South Devon Highway from the south side of the junction.

The two 50mph speed limit terminal signs for the southbound traffic, which are currently located 610 metres north of the junction with Penn Inn, will be moved 500m back up the road, so they are 1,110 metres north of Penn Inn.

A road safety audit revealed that three of the six collisions on the approach to the southbound Penn Inn have either involved late or sudden manoeuvres from the nearside lane to the offside, or rear end shunts resulting from sudden braking downstream traffic and drivers not reacting to rapidly developing queues of traffic.

The approach to the Penn Inn
The approach to the Penn Inn

At the meeting, Cllr Hook added: “I would equally urge consideration to be given to additional signage on both sides of the river crossing indicating the need for motorists to get into the correct lane as soon as possible.

“A number of motorists find themselves in the wrong lane and as the light dawns, they make a rapid lane switch, often causing problems resulting in further ‘bumps and shunts’. I believe this to be at least as important a road safety issue to address as the speeding problem.”

Cllr Alistair Dewhirst added that he was concerned that the proposed 50mph signs to be installed were the smaller ones that are currently on the road, but added: “People obviously can’t see these ones as they go faster than 50mph anyway. I want to see proper repeater signs that people can see.

“The signage is hugely confusing as people change lanes all the time as they don’t know what lane to be in, and the signs are hidden away in the hedge. I do support this but would have liked something to have been started at the top of the hill with the Teignmouth/Kingsteignton junction so people aren’t swerving all over the place, and I am sure we’ll be coming back here in future years to ask to extend it further.”

How do average speed cameras work?

The multiple cameras (at least two) are set at separate locations along a stretch of road (at a minimum 200m apart) and are synchronised to record the exact time that each car passes using number plate reading technology.

Then a computer will work out the average speed between the cameras to determine if the car was over the speed limit.

Some people wrongly think that each camera records a driver’s speed as they pass each camera before the computer works out the average speed as the car passed every camera – this explains why some drivers think they can speed up between the cameras and slow down as they pass them.

But doing this is likely to land you with a fine – the cameras simply record the time you pass them and the computer works out how long it has taken you to pass the distance between them.

Do the cameras work at night?

Yes. They are fitted with infra red illuminators to ensure they work night and day, and all weathers.

Can the cameras run out of film?

No. Unlike some other speed cameras, average speed camera information is saved to a computer.

Can the cameras catch motorbikes?

Yes. The cameras are equipped to capture all types of vehicles.

If a vehicle changes lanes will they avoid any fines?

No. The cameras calculate for lane changes. But this myth can mean people dangerously switch lanes increasing the chance of crashes.

If a driver passes more than two sets of average speed cameras in a sequence while over the speed limit, will they be fined more than once?

This is unlikely. Only certain cameras in the sequence are usually ‘paired’, so where, for example, there are four in a sequence it may be your speed between the first and third that is recorded, or the second and fourth or first and fourth, and so on.

But you will not know which ones are recording your number plate at any time.

If you are less than 10 per cent above the limit, will you get a ticket?

It has been commonly assumed by many drivers over the years that you will not get a ticket so long as your speed does not exceed the limit by more than 10 per cent plus 2mph. This is because of guidance to officers from the National Police Chiefs Council.

Several police forces nationwide have indicated that drivers can expect far less leeway, as cameras become more accurate – and the law states that a driver can receive a ticket as soon as they have exceeded the limit, even if it is only by 1mph.

How can you avoid getting a fine?

There is only one way to be sure that you do not get a ticket from average speed cameras – and that is to drive without speeding.

Average speed cameras will be installed during the winter of 2018/2019 while a Traffic Regulation Order that would see the speed limit changed on the approach to the Penn Inn will be advertised.

Pablo Alf Website Design Dawlish