Changes implemented in TSRGD 2016
The principles of signing were set in law, to be precise Statute Law, Regulations and Directions of the Secretary of State for Transport.
Statute made it a duty for the Secretary of State to set out the base level of traffic signing for speed limits that the law required a local authority to erect.
The minimum number of signs, primarily 2 signs at the start and end of every limit and signs to remind drivers on lengthy road systems were set out in the Secretary of States Directions contained with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions.
This has been the benchmark of the Highway Code, driver training and law since the 1960's.
In the event, as the government anticipated, councils failed to place the signs as directed, the same Act of Parliament prohibited a court from convicting drivers of speeding.
Since the advent of camera enforcement, the Police/ CPS lambast the motorist for using technical defences for avoiding a conviction, when the law was written to protect the driver from lazy, crass or deliberately defective signing by local authorities.
The pressure to convict has resulted in demands by authorities to remove the need for repeater signing, that in itself is known to have caused confusion but has not prevented camera or police enforcement.
On Friday 22nd April new Regulations come into force.
The Directions within TSRGD have been altered beyond belief, the Must and Shall requirements for the placing of terminal signs have been revoked and there is merely a WHEN. The when being if an authority chooses to do so.
There is no longer any requirement to place any repeater signing anywhere as well.
Whilst the government draws authorities' attention to its signing guidance, that is all it is and it was published to advise authorities what they formerly (and formally) had to do.
And of course, that guidance is just that, it is not law.
Under statute law, the demand placed upon the Secretary of State to direct what is the minimum standard of signing required to give adequate guidance still exists.
His direction in the regulations requires NONE.
Therefore, under new law, to give adequate guidance to a driver, the definition of what is adequate set in Statute being that signing demanded by the Secretary of State authorities have to place NOTHING at all on any road. Unless they want to go to the expense of doing so of course.
For the avoidance of any doubt as to how perfidious the new TSRGD changes are, here's a for instance:
The traffic department of X local authority achieves a democratically reached decision (i.e., voted on and approved) that the signage on a given stretch of single-carriageway rural (say 50MPH) road no longer requires signage. It is no longer maintained, allowed to be obscured or removed.
The local authority then creates a Temporary 20mph Order imposing a limit on this unsigned stretch and the Scamera Partnership commences enforcement of that lower limit.
This results in a massive number of NIPs, fines, disqualifications and Awareness Course attendance fees etc as everyone using it is at least 200% above the (unsigned temporary 20mph) speed limit.
Under the new guidelines; while highly unscrupulous and totally unethical, the enforcement of this unsigned 20mph limit would be perfectly lawful and in compliance with the new law.
All prosecutions brought up under the Temporary Order must therefore still stand up in in court - unless the court chooses to interpret the word "adequate" in the guidance.
In Humberside for example, there are many roads with alternating 60 and 40 mph limits. As of April 22nd, Humberside would be at liberty to remove all 40mph signage and continue the legal (!) enforcement of the 40mph limit on those unsigned 40 limit stretches. How can this be supportive of good road safety - as opposed to anything other than blatant revenue generation.
In addition, this county enforces at 1 mph above a set limit even when speedometers are incapable of being within 10% accuracy in their displays.
Hence the reason the enforcement 'threshold' is said to be the speed limit, + 10% + 2 mph.
And of course, if the Humberside Partnerships are enforcing below the policy guidelines and taking people to court/ courses for exceeding limits with no way of knowing, what will they do when there are no signs, too?
Finally, with the stopping of legal aid, increasing defendant costs from £45 per hearing to £600 - plus the ramped up fining based upon percentages above a limit - what hope has any driver now?