Confusing road signs and faulty traffic lights have accounted for 120 road traffic accidents across Merseyside since 2010
According to new reports by the Liverpool Echo newspaper, 120 road traffic accidents have been caused by incorrect signs or faulty traffic lights since 2010.
This has been blamed on the recent government cuts, which have meant important traffic safety measures, such as traffic lights, have left to fend for themselves. This has led to an increase of traffic accidents in the Merseyside area, which could have been avoided if the necessary repairs and checks were carried out on a regular basis.
Injuries caused by faulty signs and traffic lights
The department for transport revealed that 48 people have been injured over the last year, purely because of faulty traffic lights and poor road surfaces. Within the last five years, 57 people were injured in car crashes at sites where there were defective road signs or markings, while 66 were hurt at sites where there were broken traffic lights or other automated signalling. This is shocking, mostly because these kinds of accidents can easily be avoided, but due to recent cuts in public spending, this has meant that corners have been cut, resulting in increased potential risk to road users and pedestrians.
Accidents in the news
This isn’t the only story that has hit the headlines over the past few months. On the 5th September, 2015, a car accident was caused by, what was believed to be, a faulty traffic light. The accident happened in Northampton and it was suggested that the traffic lights on the A43 junction were not working from 3:30 pm onwards. A short time afterwards an accident occurred involving a Mitsubishi and a BMW. The people in the car were taken to the local hospital and one had to be airlifted by a helicopter, due to the seriousness of her injuries.
This accident could easily have been avoided if the lights had of been fixed.
It is not just in England that we are seeing these kinds of accidents. In September 2013, in Swansea, Wales, a man was killed because of what was thought to be defects in the road layout, which according to police was the site of many ‘near misses’.
The 37 year old was hit by a bus and unfortunately did not survive the accident. South Wales Police Sergeant, Patrick Joyce, described how he believed the road layout contributed towards the accident:
“I visited premises along the Kingsway after the accident and at every single premises people informed me they had had a near miss by looking the wrong way so we conducted an investigation into the road lay-out.”
The inquest, which is still ongoing, heard there had been 14 personal injury accidents involving pedestrians and buses on the Kingsway between January 2008 and October 2013. Concerns about the safety of Kingsway traffic system were highlighted in March this year when off duty Police Officer, Louise Lucas, died after being hit by a bus. Barriers were put in place following her death and the whole traffic system was reviewed leading to a new system being put into place.
The daily mail in 2013 reported on research that suggested that a third of drivers have had an accident or a near miss, due to baffling road signs. Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com, said:
‘Our research suggests that many accidents are actually caused by redundant or perplexing road signs. It is clear that the government needs to do a better job in educating people on what road signs mean in order to improve road safety. Any accidents caused because of distracting road signs will affect car insurance premiums, which will in turn cost the consumer more money.’
This new research and tragic stories help highlight the potentially deadly situations that can occur if traffic lights, signs and road layouts are not maintained or working correctly.
The main issue surrounding this is the fact that in 2013 the estimated total budget cut for the Department of Transport across England, was one billion pounds. It is said that the bigger cities, such as Liverpool and Manchester, have taken the biggest hit. Sir Eric Pickles, Communities and Local Government Secretary, stated:
“The Government is clear that deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery, is the most pressing issue facing Britain. This will restore confidence in the economy and support the recovery. Advice from the Treasury and Bank of England is that it is better to start to make the reductions in the current financial year. Not to do so will simply delay the need for savings in future years, thereby compounding the impact on public services, including those delivered by local authorities, in the future.”
So, from this, we can see that severe budget cuts in local authorities, traffic systems and police officer numbers are having serious consequences on public safety.
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