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Suffolk: Speeding appeal driver warns of obscured road sign dangers on county’s rural roads

PUBLISHED: 08:52 17 June 2014

An example of obscured road signs

An example of obscured road signs

Archant

A driver who spent months overturning his speeding conviction has claimed the location of many road signs in rural Suffolk are both hazardous and unfair to motorists.

Caspar James was caught last July driving at 43mph in a 30mph section of the A143 in Wattisfield, near Eye.

After being found guilty of speeding at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court in January, Mr James successfully appealed the conviction at Ipswich Crown Court in April.

He used evidence from an
arboriculturist to prove the road sign was obscured by foliage, making it unfair to prosecute. He also called upon a forensic traffic expert to demonstrate the sign’s position on the inside of a left-hand bend gave motorists insufficient warning to slow down – even if they could see past the trees.

The 34-year-old Norfolk musician claims the problem affects many rural routes in East Anglia – particularly in summer – and is calling upon authorities to improve the visibility of signs by locating them away from left-hand bends and overgrowth.

“The police are obviously concerned about the problem of speeding in these villages but they don’t seem to notice that there’s a deeper problem with the visibility of signs,” he said. “These rural roads are some of the most dangerous we travel on and yet these are the ones where signs don’t seem to be monitored – in the worst case there could be a fatality.”

Suffolk Constabulary said speeding was a priority for the county and mobile enforcement cameras were located at areas where motorists were known to speed after visibility checks were carried out. Suffolk County Council claimed most cases of obscured signs were the adjoining landowners’ responsibility.

“We write to the owners...and remind them of their legal responsibilities,” a spokesman said.

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