Motorists to have their fines and points revoked after A38 speed camera's signs deemed "illegal"

Gazette Series: One of the "illegal" signs at Berkeley Road on the A38 (2374483) One of the "illegal" signs at Berkeley Road on the A38 (2374483)

HUNDREDS of motorists caught out by a speed camera positioned at the Berkeley Rail Bridge on the A38 are to have any points given rescinded and fine money paid back to them after it was found the related signage was illegal.

Following readers’ complaints about the camera’s position and the inadequate signs leading up to it, the Gazette took up the inquiry to investigate its legality.

In response to the paper’s enquires, Gloucestershire Police said on Tuesday, November 19 it had been assured by Gloucestershire Highways that the signs were incompliance with regulations.

However, on Thursday, November 26 Gloucestershire Police called the Gazette to say that the signs had been found to be incorrect and therefore “illegal”.

Because the incorrect signs were used to inform drivers of the change from a 50mph zone to a 30mph zone northbound on the A38, any actions taken against the drivers was not legally enforceable.

Letters have now been sent out to all 503 wronged commuters to say their fines have been repaid and the points on their licenses revoked.

Gloucestershire Police spokesman Simon Masters confirmed that using the sign, which had the new 30mph limit surrounded by a black border to inform drivers of the speed reduction was illegal.

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“We have had to take this on the chin but it is a Gloucestershire Highways issue because they put the sign up. They made the sign and they asked for the speed limit,” he said.

“There will be 503 very relieved people out there who will get their fines paid back and the points taken back off their licence.”

The signs and barriers narrowing the bridge were put out on Monday, October 14, with speed camera enforcement taking place from Wednesday, October 23.

The temporary speed reduction has been put in place to avoid further deterioration of the steel-truss bridge, which will eventually be replaced.

A Gloucestershire Highways spokesman said a weight restriction was not an option because of the importance of the route for goods vehicles travelling through the county.

“We’ve been made aware of the fact that the signs on the approach to the bridge have a small technical fault and they will be replaced as soon as possible,” he said.

“This is important work to protect the structure of Berkeley Rail Bridge and we’ve put a 30mph restriction in place to try and prevent further deterioration until the bridge can be fully replaced. We would therefore urge drivers to continue to keep to the speed limit.”

Comments (3)

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8:42pm Sat 16 Nov 13

bargee1972 says...

503 wronged commuters, How do they know all the drivers were commuting?

They broke the speed limit they should be fined. Should be more of it especially on the Berkeley to Berkeley Heath road, and as for people getting away with using mobile phones there is too much of that going on and people getting away with it.
and as for the police they couldn't catch a cold.
503 wronged commuters, How do they know all the drivers were commuting? They broke the speed limit they should be fined. Should be more of it especially on the Berkeley to Berkeley Heath road, and as for people getting away with using mobile phones there is too much of that going on and people getting away with it. and as for the police they couldn't catch a cold. bargee1972

6:15pm Sun 17 Nov 13

Thornburyboy says...

The point is that unless they exceeded 50mph, they didn't break the speed limit. If the authorities don't act in a lawful manner, they can hardly prosecute people who break a non existent change.

On a separate point, someone bungled - has the culprit been identified and appropriate action taken?
The point is that unless they exceeded 50mph, they didn't break the speed limit. If the authorities don't act in a lawful manner, they can hardly prosecute people who break a non existent change. On a separate point, someone bungled - has the culprit been identified and appropriate action taken? Thornburyboy

9:28am Wed 20 Nov 13

Arnie2 says...

Let me put truth to this story.
I was told about this speed check and how local people were being caught by a mobile speed camera, I have many years of experience using speed detection equipment.
Before using such equipment it is the operators responsibility to ensure that the location of the site is clearly signed and that the signs are legal.
I took photographs of the approach to this location and also at the location which showed clearly that the signage was wrong therefore illegal .
I attempted to contact Gloucestershire Highways but the person I needed was out for the morning so I contacted Gloucestershire Police and informed them.

I was contacted by PC Simon Edwards who stated he had been enforcing the speed limit at this location as Gloucestershire Highways had requested Police enforce the changed speed limit.
I asked was there no period of grace where perhaps you would consider giving locals the opportunity to adjust to the new limit. He I told me that yes there was and in fact they had waited four weeks before they had carried out enforcement. I later found this couldn't have been true as I spoke to him around 12 November after 500 + motorists had been caught yet the speed limit was only put up around 14 October so there was no way that four weeks grace had been given.
I also spoke to him In relation to the signs and pointed out why I thought they were illegal, he informed me that as far as he was concerned the signage was legal and that prior to his speed checks he drove through the location and made a video showing that the signs were in place and legal.
I pointed out that I had visited that location and the signs were in fact illegal and I suggested he go and take another look.
He contacted me the next day, no not to thank me but just to say that I was correct.
I asked him to ensure every motorist who had been convicted was contacted and got full refunds and points taken OFF their licence.
I am very aware speed is the cause to most collisions on our roads but this is not the point I am making here.
The authorities must ensure and they have a duty to ensure that they are legal before they can enforce the law.
Let me put truth to this story. I was told about this speed check and how local people were being caught by a mobile speed camera, I have many years of experience using speed detection equipment. Before using such equipment it is the operators responsibility to ensure that the location of the site is clearly signed and that the signs are legal. I took photographs of the approach to this location and also at the location which showed clearly that the signage was wrong therefore illegal . I attempted to contact Gloucestershire Highways but the person I needed was out for the morning so I contacted Gloucestershire Police and informed them. I was contacted by PC Simon Edwards who stated he had been enforcing the speed limit at this location as Gloucestershire Highways had requested Police enforce the changed speed limit. I asked was there no period of grace where perhaps you would consider giving locals the opportunity to adjust to the new limit. He I told me that yes there was and in fact they had waited four weeks before they had carried out enforcement. I later found this couldn't have been true as I spoke to him around 12 November after 500 + motorists had been caught yet the speed limit was only put up around 14 October so there was no way that four weeks grace had been given. I also spoke to him In relation to the signs and pointed out why I thought they were illegal, he informed me that as far as he was concerned the signage was legal and that prior to his speed checks he drove through the location and made a video showing that the signs were in place and legal. I pointed out that I had visited that location and the signs were in fact illegal and I suggested he go and take another look. He contacted me the next day, no not to thank me but just to say that I was correct. I asked him to ensure every motorist who had been convicted was contacted and got full refunds and points taken OFF their licence. I am very aware speed is the cause to most collisions on our roads but this is not the point I am making here. The authorities must ensure and they have a duty to ensure that they are legal before they can enforce the law. Arnie2

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