I see that the very conscientious people of the Sutton Community Speed Watch scheme were out again. They are out in all weathers, on occasion, to try and improve the safety on the 1.5 km of road through the 30 mph limit of their village. I have spent no more than an hour seeing how these Speed Watches are managed and I admire their dedication to reducing vehicle speeds. I thought as I passed them that there must be a better way, and there is.
The County Council (CC) have the perfect answer in the ANPR Speed Camera. This will record a vehicle’s speed and the number plate and the speeders will get reported to the police. There is a threshold speed where they would either get a letter from the police or a fine and points, but that is an assumption. I believe that normally an allowance of speed limit plus 10% add 2 so a speed limit of over 35 mph on a 30 mph limit would be actioned. I would not like to try that.
35 is OK for a reasonably wide carriageway with a pavement. Not good for Hollesley Road in our village where the road can just about accommodate a van with one person walking. I use this road often. as do a lot of people in the village, because they will use it to get supplies from the smallholding or for the residents of Heath Drive for which it is the only way to the centre of the village. 20 mph is more reasonable whereas 35 mph is much too fast.
Sutton had a loan of one of the few that the CC have, or maybe just the one that they have. I have not seen the full breakdown of those ‘caught’ speeding’ but I know that one was in the fifties and that in a 30 limit. The problem is that they do not have enough of them and what is the point of them unless they are permanent and cover both sides of the road. I am not sure what the cost of a ANPR Speeding Device would be, but the cost for all things electronic and intelligent have dropped in the past decade. I know that an ANPR Device costs about £3000, maybe less, and you can get a radar detector of police grade for less than £500. Add the two together and the technology to connect them to the cloud, say £5,000 to £10,000. Interesting to know how much the CC paid.
The one that was in Sutton had the ‘speed you are driving at’ displays which I believe are unnecessary provided you have a speed camera warning. Correct me if I am wrong but the motorway and other versions do not have the speed display sign specifically. I think that the cost of a couple of these in Shottisham is not much compared to a child’s life. But no, the force that are behind these are too tied up with vanity projects like Discover Suffolk which includes a website and an app which as far as I can see mimics apps that I have on my phone already.
Let me look at other devices that can slow traffic. First a 20 mph zone. This must be the best way of reducing serious injuries although you are reliant on the driver obeying this limit. This site has waxed lyrical on this subject in a number of previous blogs and we are not going to go on about in this one. I suggest you have a look at this URL.
This will send you to one of my favourite sites where there is a mass of information about 20 mph limits. Last comment which I have found, says that lowering speed limits alone may not have the desired effect. National guidance advises that 20mph speed limits should be self-enforcing and sometimes it is necessary to install traffic calming measures to encourage compliant speeds. Self-enforcing is idiocy as National Guidance and shows the lack of respect that ‘The Authorities’ have to the preservation of life and the freedom of pedestrians and cyclists from the chance of injury from speeding vehicles. 30 mph is just too fast for this village’s roads.
The third type of measure which can slow traffic is the very effective speed hump. Now maybe these are very effective but you don’t see many of them around. The only measure of this type that I know of in the immediate area are those on the Station Road in Melton. There could be others that I do not know about. These Melton type are those central carriageway humps which slow cars down but not emergency vehicles. I found out, when I Googled, that these are known as speed cushions. You can pass at 20 mph but not much more unless you want to be quite trying on your cars suspension. When I first saw them (they have not always been there) I thought ‘unusual’ because there are more deserving places. I was probably a bit slow here, the road passes the entrance to the District Council Offices! Design or Coincidence. There are other places which could do with such speed restrictors, and two would be the aforesaid Hollesley Road and The Street in this village. Now correct me if I am wrong, but the authorities would probably say that there are things that an area needs before they will consider installing humps. One would no doubt be an history of accidents. Never seen an accident on Station Road. Probably they would also say that Station Road is a cut through. Well so are Hollesley Road and The Street, The difference is that Station Road has pavements but ours do not.
There are other measures and these include,
- Speed tables.
- Road width restrictions/build outs.
- Lane width restrictions.
- Gateways / entry points.
- Rumble strips and dragon’s teeth.
These may not suitable for our village roads
We will continue to bang on in this site about road safety because it is very important to life and limb.