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Motorway Signs: Are they Distracting?

By: Simon McBride - Updated: 18 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Motorway Signs Advertising Highways

There is a debate afoot at present that motorway signs are distracting. These are not the ‘normal’ signs that we have on our motorway network, no these signs are those that advertise the nearest coffee house or others that claim ‘work from home and earn hundreds'. Critics claim these signs are actually illegal and distract motorists as they are usually placed in a field close to a motorway and if you travel much on the UK road network you will see that they are becoming more common.

Adverts Close to the Motorway

With hundreds of thousands of drivers using the motorways in the UK each day, the companies advertising their wares have got a real market on their hands. But are drivers taking their eyes off the road ahead to read these ads?

According to results from the Highways Agency survey you can pass one of these ads on the M6 in Staffordshire every 30 seconds. They are usually easy to see as the ad is usually on the side of a disused lorry situated in a field very close to the motorway and in a way that will attract the attention of passing motorists.

Campaign to Protect Rural England

The Campaign to Protect Rural England are up in arms as they believe these ads blight the countryside and say this method of advertising is inappropriate.

But the farmers who use this as an alternative income for their land charge the advertisers about £1,000 a month to use their land in this way and claim that they can do what they want with their land.

Legislation to Control Advertising

But there is legislation to control how advertising is displayed and if the advertisers and the land owners are not obeying these laws then they could get themselves into hot water.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is a charity and was founded in 1926 and promotes the English countryside and fights against rogue advertising.

Paul Miner, CPRE's Planning Campaigner, said: 'We are pleased that the authorities are going to clamp down on this illegal advertising, it not only blights the countryside but it is also a distraction for motorists travelling on the motorway network. ‘For years these cowboy outfits have been able to blot the landscape by putting trailers and lorries in fields, it makes a mockery of the countryside and distracts drivers travelling at high speeds.

'Our campaign has so far been a success, 72 local authorities have looked at what we are trying to do and have agreed to act. There have been improvements in some areas of the UK road network but there is room for improvement in other areas while some places are hotspots for this rogue advertising and we need to counter this with the aid of more authorities.‘

If an advert is being displayed without the proper regulations in place a maximum fine of £2,500 can be handed out to both the advertiser and the landowner.

So remember you should keep your eyes on the road at all times and only take note of legal motorway signs. Do not get distracted, remember you should always stay alert.

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