One success in what was otherwise a distinctly under-achieving year for Draycott’s village council has been the installation by it in the district of two SIDs/Speed Indication Devices, (also known as VAS / Vehicle Activation Signs), i.e. speed signs.
The first sign can be found at the west end of the village where cars come off the dual carriageway on to Draycott Level; and the second is between the Draycott Arms and the churchyard.
As anyone who has driven past them will know, they flash up the speed your car is going at: 35mph-40mph flashes green, anything over that flashes red. The speed limit through Draycott and through Cresswell is 40mph.
It has been difficult to prove just how useful SIDs actually are.
In some areas, the data reveals that motorists do drop their excessive speeds – which is good -, but continue to break the actual speed limit anyway – which is bad. And, human nature being what it is, regular motorists just start to ignore them over time.
So, the SIDs are no substitute for local authority or police speed cameras.
However, speeding is one of the issues that bothers Draycott’s residents the most, according to council correspondence, so at least something is being done by the village council to address electors’ concerns.
This whole project has been ongoing for two, very difficult years. Indeed, you have to feel sorry for the council’s administrator (the main paid member of the village council’s staff) who has had to sort the whole business out.
It’s been difficult because: you can’t just put the poles where you’d like best; you can’t dig the holes for them without filling in proper permission forms; you have to get land-owner permissions; you can’t load them on other structures; you have to consult with nearby householders; you have to deal with the different demands set by the councillors; you have to get approval from Highways… etc etc. No one envied her the job of sorting this one out – and congratulations to her for persevering!
One less headache though is the fact that no electricity supply is needed; they are powered by the solar-panel attached to the pole.
The SIDs (made by Unipart Dorman) have cost the council nothing.
Although the total price – all in – came to some £8,000 for the two, most of it (£5000) came from The Staffordshire County Road Safety Grant, the rest from the Draycott District Community Fund (the ‘SA Fund’).
In fact, Draycott’s SIDs are the basic unit, cheaper than those in other villages because they do not have any ‘extras’ (such as a flashing ‘SLOW DOWN’ message).
The councillors are pleased by the project, so they are now considering installing two other SIDs, one possibly on Cheadle Road.
Worth the trouble?
The jury is out on whether the signs actually change motorist behaviour much.
So, to properly find that out we’d need to get and analyse data collected by the SIDs. That data would help with getting a picture of local speeding patterns and would tell us whether local speeding really is a problem, or just an impression.
(The way it works is pretty straightforward: the SIDs contain an internal recording unit, which stores all the speeds it registers, and the SID’s owner can then download the data in order to get a picture of local speeding patterns. In case you were wondering, there is no camera inside the SID, so no number-plates can be recorded).
But…. – quite surprisingly – the councillors did not choose to request data-collection. It’s not clear why not.
Another factor is that a large roundabout on Draycott Level is due to be built on the crossroads at Church Lane-Uttoxeter Road-Cresswell Lane. Traffic approaching that will have to slow down obviously anyway (and be subject to a new 30mph limit for 200 yards anyway) so the SID near the churchyard will be virtually redundant when that’s built. (Though, admittedly, it could then just be moved).
But there’s no doubt that the SID at the west end of the village is a bonus. Traffic coming off the A50 and on to the dual carriageway into Draycott has been hitting high speeds!
Admittedly, the speed limit on the dual carriageway stretch has recently been reduced from 60mph to 40mph, but many motorists were taking little notice. The SID may just (one hopes) remind them to slow down.
But… only time will tell.
By the way, you may have wondered why the SIDs do not flash when a car is doing over 60mph – instead, it just goes blank. This is not a fault; it’s deliberate.
Psychologists have worked out that some boy-racers enjoy the ‘thrill’ of seeing themselves clocked at high speeds – so the SIDs cut out, rather than encourage them. People (especially boy-racers) are strange, huh?
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