(Mis)managed Motorways

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The Lad, 5 Oct 2017.

  1. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    Not so; in the case of the M25 Heathrow section the cameras have, for the past year or so, been live at all times and do match any reduced limits shown. They also have a very tight trigger margin - although the traffic is usually so heavy that nobody is likely to get anywhere near the speed limit in the first place most of the time...
     
  2. tspaul26

    tspaul26 Member

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    You have omitted regulation 3(4), which provides that:

    This means that a blank sign is not indicating a speed limit and the prohibition in regulation 3(1) does not apply. If no speed limit is indicated, we then default to the national speed limit.
     
  3. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    That isn’t my reading of that regulation. It reads to me to imply that a blank sign does not indicate any speed limit, whether that’s 40mph or the NSL. In essence, the blank sign provides no information, advisory, order etc.

    IANAL, though.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    But a speed limit (by general legislation on the matter) does not exist without repeaters at the correct spacing. If those are absent, the limit is not in force.
     
  5. tspaul26

    tspaul26 Member

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    Indeed, a blank sign does not indicate any speed limit.

    The issue appears to be that you are taking discrete paragraphs of the regulation out of context, rather than construing the regulation entire.

    The operative restriction is contained in regulation 3(1) whereas regulations 3(2) to 3(5) provide further instructions as to how that restriction is to be interpreted.

    To take the analysis step-by-step:

    The restriction applies to vehicles that are being driven. So far, so good.

    We are driving a vehicle.

    The definition of such a section is set out in regulation 3(2):



    As to (a), let us assume that the road is actually specified (not necessarily guaranteed given the quality of some legislative drafting).

    As to (b), the vehicle has passed a speed limit sign indicating a speed limit of 40mph. Regulation 3(5) tells us that in relation to a vehicle a 'speed limit sign' means a diagram 670 type traffic sign (i.e. a number inside a red circle).

    As to (c)(ii), the vehicle has not passed a traffic sign indicating that the national speed limit is in force.

    As to (c)(i), the vehicle has only passed a blank speed limit sign. It has not passed a 'speed limit sign' of the diagram 670 type as defined in regulation 3(5).*

    Consequently, we may conclude that the vehicle is on a section of a road which is subject to a variable speed limit both before and after passing the blank sign.

    We must then consider the final part of the restriction:

    Regulation 3(4) clarifies that if a speed limit sign indicates no speed limit or indicates that the national speed limit is in force then it "is to be taken as not indicating any speed limit".

    It is worthy of note that this paragraph of the regulation is not subject to the caveat "in relation to a vehicle", unlike regulation 3(2), regulation 3(3) and the definition of 'speed limit sign' in regulation 3(5). This means that the speed limit signs to which regulation 3(4) applies are not limited to those that conform to diagram 670 and a completely blank sign can constitute a speed limit sign in this respect.

    As such, if the speed limit sign does not indicate a speed limit (i.e. is blank) or indicates that the national speed limit is in force it is to be taken as "not indicating any speed limit".

    This brings us to the logical conclusion that, if no speed limit is being indicated by a speed limit sign, it will not be possible to drive a vehicle in excess of the indicated speed. To put the matter another way, one cannot exceed an indicated speed if no speed has actually been indicated.

    * For the avoidance of doubt, regulation 3(4) clarifies that a blank sign is not indicating a speed limit so once again we may conclude that the vehicle has not passed a speed limit sign indicating a speed limit for the purposes of regulation 3(2)(c)(i),
     
  6. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    Thanks for the breakdown - appreciated and understood!
     
  7. tspaul26

    tspaul26 Member

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    If it's any consolation I have to deal with highway law a lot at work, but utterly detest it as a field: horrendously complicated and totally counter-intuitive.
     
  8. robbeech

    robbeech Member

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    On Smart motorways there are signs on the entry slip to alert drivers entering the motorway to any current changes to speed limits as well as the ones on the motorway.
     
  9. gg1

    gg1 Member

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    I've seen speed cameras flash on the M42 when there has been a speed restrictions of 40 with cars that definitely don't appear to be travelling above 60.

    Aren't these on the entry to all motorways, smart or otherwise?
     
  10. PeterC

    PeterC Member

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    There is no speed limit signage of any sort unless the limit is less than NSL. The "chopsticks" are sufficient to tell you that the limit is NSL in the absence of anything else.
     
  11. gg1

    gg1 Member

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    I meant the flashing matrix signs which are illuminated to show when there is a lower speed limit in force.
     
  12. Domh245

    Domh245 Established Member

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    I think that they only exist for areas where the motorway has a variable speed limit, for example here at J10 of the M25, which isn't a smart motorway.

    Edit: Looking at wikipedia, it would seem to suggest that any motorway with a variable speed limit is technically a smart motorway, but just the most basic level (Controlled Motorway) as opposed to my perception of smart motorways which are the "Dynamic Hard Shoulder" and "All Lane Running" levels
     
    Last edited: 11 Oct 2017
  13. gg1

    gg1 Member

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    Maybe only major junctions then. They've definitely been on the entry slip roads to a number of junctions around Brum for as long as I've been driving, over 20 years and long before the existence of smart motorways/controlled motorways.
     
  14. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Weren't they just for the advisory speed limits that many motorways had (and indeed still have) with the orange numbers and flashing orange lights?
     
  15. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    That’s what I thought too.
     
  16. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The "chopsticks"?
     
  17. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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  18. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Aha, thank you! I was worried I had missed something fundamental from my road knowledge! :lol:
     
  19. gg1

    gg1 Member

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    Yes those are the signs I'm referring to.
     

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