Speed Limit Signing Defence Rejected

The Problem

For some time a number of police forces had experienced legal challenges based on an “expert report” claiming that speed limits were zones and that all signage had to be perfect throughout the zone. It was claimed that this meant that any defect, however trivial, and wherever it was in the zone provided a defence.

Our Solution

In court, Road Safety Support’s signage specialist drew attention to the legislation that confirmed that speed limits only applied to roads. That legislation also only required that signs provided drivers with adequate guidance, so perfection was not needed.

The Outcome

As a result the court rejected the defence “expert” claims and on appeal to the High Court, Road Safety Support’s view was upheld. The decision in this case is Peake v DPP [2010] EWHC 286 and this ruled that adequate guidance can be provided by three good signs on the road in question. This means that defects elsewhere in the zone may only be relevant to the road where the defects exist.

Note: The decision in Peake does not mean defects elsewhere should be ignored as the following sentence is included in the judgement: “…nothing in this judgment is designed to relieve local traffic authorities of their duty to provide adequate traffic signs compliant with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions in areas covered by an Order.”