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mb1rgw
Hi all,

Not been here in a long time, my wife and I have been good for a few years, but now one of us has got flashed by a GATSO, during the day, doing 35mph in what is supposedly a 30mph zone. However...

This is a single-carriageway A road which goes from being an unlit national speed limit to having "a system of street lighting". After the second streetlight on each side, there are30mph terminal signs which do not have any active illumination, contrary to TSRGD Schedule 17(10).

Question 1: Even though it was daytime, am I correct in thinking that Davies vs Heatley means that the signage is defective (close to streetlight, but no illumination at night) and effectively does not exist?

AIUI if this were all then, despite the potentially defective signage there would be no absolute defence under RTRA 1984 S85(4) since the street lighting would establish the speed limit.

However,

Immediately before the 30mph limit starts (i.e. within the system of street lighting), there is an unlit side road which has a 40mph limit right up to the junction, at which point there are terminal signs indicating NSL. Someone coming up this side road and then turning left towards the 30mph limit (and the GATSO 500m down the road) will encounter, in sequence:

Two terminal NSL signs (also lacking illumination, but this is a side road and this is therefore not a defect)
The junction, with a streetlight on the RH corner and another opposite (and more lighting to both right and left)
A SINGLE 30mph sign (unlit) - the other is directly opposite the junction (staggered) and not readable from the side road.

Question 2: Does the staggered positioning of the terminal signs, such that some users may not see both, render the signage defective?

Question 3: Does that fact that the driver encounters NSL signs at the junction with the illuminated trunk road mean that 30mph signs are necessary to establish the speed limit, so that the absolute defence under RTRA 1984 S85(4) is available?

Thanks for all help,

mb1rgw
peterguk
Wasn't tere a recent-ish Appeal that deemed unlit signs valid in daytime?
Jlc
Is Google Street View up to date? AIUI there's no day-time defence though.
southpaw82
Did you pass through the NSL signs?
Logician
Defective lighting will not work as a defence for an offence committed during daylight Stubbs v Morgan [1972] RTR 459

Defective signing in another part of the "envelope" which the driver did not pass does not form a defence when the signs he did pass were compliant Peake v DPP
mb1rgw
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 23 Aug 2013 - 20:46) *
Did you pass through the NSL signs?


QUOTE (Logician @ Fri, 23 Aug 2013 - 21:45) *
Defective signing in another part of the "envelope" which the driver did not pass does not form a defence when the signs he did pass were compliant Peake v DPP


Thanks. The route taken is surely not relevant. The judgement in Peake says:

"If the prosecution can establish the route taken by the defendant, it will only have to show that compliant signs provide adequate guidance at the point of enforcement for someone taking that route. If they cannot establish the route, they will have to show that there were compliant signs on all routes which the driver may have taken."

My reading of this is that, unless they can demonstrate the route taken, then if there is any defective signage on any route then that provides a defence.

Given that the lack of lighting doesn't provide a defence, does the staggered terminal signs, one of which will not be seen from the sideroad?
southpaw82
QUOTE (mb1rgw @ Fri, 23 Aug 2013 - 23:52) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 23 Aug 2013 - 20:46) *
Did you pass through the NSL signs?


QUOTE (Logician @ Fri, 23 Aug 2013 - 21:45) *
Defective signing in another part of the "envelope" which the driver did not pass does not form a defence when the signs he did pass were compliant Peake v DPP


Thanks. The route taken is surely not relevant. The judgement in Peake says:

"If the prosecution can establish the route taken by the defendant, it will only have to show that compliant signs provide adequate guidance at the point of enforcement for someone taking that route. If they cannot establish the route, they will have to show that there were compliant signs on all routes which the driver may have taken."



Don't withhold information or play the barrack room lawyer here. If you do, what advice you receive will be tainted by the lack of accurate information. What route you took is relevant precisely because of [i]Peake[/]. You certainly can't lie about the route you took. Neither can you take the stand, as then you could be asked what route you took. So, you need to stay off the stand in order to pull that particular line off. How then would you introduce evidence as to the state of the signs? Do you have another person who was with you who could testify?
You don't have to answer whether you passed the allegedly defective signs or not but bear the above in mind when you're weighing up your chances.
mb1rgw
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 23 Aug 2013 - 23:58) *
Don't withhold information or play the barrack room lawyer here. If you do, what advice you receive will be tainted by the lack of accurate information. What route you took is relevant precisely because of [i]Peake[/]. You certainly can't lie about the route you took. Neither can you take the stand, as then you could be asked what route you took. So, you need to stay off the stand in order to pull that particular line off. How then would you introduce evidence as to the state of the signs? Do you have another person who was with you who could testify?
You don't have to answer whether you passed the allegedly defective signs or not but bear the above in mind when you're weighing up your chances.

Not quite sure what you mean about 'barrack room lawyer', I was simply pointing out that the questions from others about the route was moot if the prosecution can't prove it. I understand that the driver would have to avoid taking the stand if they hadn't actually driven that way. But as far as the defective signage is concerned, it's very near where we live and I just went back today to check it. Anyone (not in the car at the time) could take the stand to testify, as the issue doesn't even relate to the state of the signage, simply its precise location.

For the sake of argument, let's assume the driver came off the side road and turned left. Here's a picture of the junction, looking from the side road:



Thanks
southpaw82
That might do it but:


1. The prosecution will quite rightly say that testimony from a point in time other than the time of the offence is less persuasive than the direct evidence of someone who was there at the time (such as the driver), and


2. They may ask the court to draw an adverse inference in relation to the defendant refusing to testify.


The barrack room lawyer comment means don't try to be clever unless you know what you're doing. It can often backfire.
peterguk
QUOTE (mb1rgw @ Sat, 24 Aug 2013 - 00:14) *
let's assume the driver came off the side road and turned left.


OP - was that the route you took?


SP - in my blissful ignorance of the detailed law on signs, i would see that as 10ft of NSL (daft i know), then a 30mph limit. Why would the 30mph limit be unenforceable?
mb1rgw
Oh I see. I've been around the block a few times (was one of the first to get hauled up under s172 after supplying a 'Jones' letter), and so far I have a perfect record (5 NIPs in total, between me and my wife, 2 court appearances, zero points), so I hope I know what I've doing smile.gif

Thoughts on the junction? Does someone turning left here have a defence, given that you'll only see a single terminal sign, which is easily missed when checking to your right that it's OK to turn (note the existence of an 'acceleration lane')?
captain swoop
Street lights.
Logician
I think you face an uphill struggle. The only way I can see that you can effectively use the fact that the prosecution cannot prove what route you took, without giving evidence yourself, is to make a half-time submission of "no case to answer" on the basis that the prosecution have not proved your route and if emerging from the side road the signage is inadequate because only one 30 terminal sign is visible. However, the prosecution may well say that is irrelevant because where the GATSO was located was clearly a restricted road subject to a 30 limit because it had a system of street lighting. Your response to that would have to be that there were NSL signs on the side road, which indicated that the road was not restricted, despite that street lights. For that argument to succeed, the GATSO would have to be not too far from the side road. If it was a reasonable distance away, then the absence of repeater NSL signs on the street lights would indicate that it was restricted (s85(5) RTRA 1984), however it would be for the prosecution to prove the absence of such signs.

Bear in mind that under the current Criminal Procedure Rules you are required to disclose the nature of your defence and the least you can reasonably say is "defective signing" That is likely to lead to the police sending someone to the area with a camera. That person would then have to attend court to exhibit the photographs, which will add to the costs if you are found guilty. I cannot see these arguments cutting much ice in a magistrates' court, so I think you would be likely to be found G and have to go to appeal to have any chance of success. It sounds as though you/your wife have clean licences currently, so it become a question of how far you are prepared to take the issue when your licence is not at risk.
The Rookie
How far into the street lighting were you, lack of signage is not a defence in a system of street lighting even if no signs are present at all, it may be a special reasons not to endorse.

How would you present evidence about the signs without taking the stand and being asked if you'd past them.
Jlc
Is GSV up to date? I get the feeling we are being drip fed information and pictures that support the OP's point of view. Whilst it would be great to agree with that it would be better to form a view based upon the facts.
mb1rgw
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Sat, 24 Aug 2013 - 07:44) *
How far into the street lighting were you, lack of signage is not a defence in a system of street lighting even if no signs are present at all, it may be a special reasons not to endorse.

There are 3-4 streetlights outside the 30 limit if you turn right out of th. side road. The GATSO is approx 500m from the start of the limit.

The main point is that, for someone coming from the side road, they are moving from an unlit 40mph limit into a lit NSL. They then immediately encounter a single (unlit) 30mph terminal sign, with the other not being visible to them.
QUOTE
How would you present evidence about the signs without taking the stand and being asked if you'd past them.

As above, someone other than the driver would give evidence. Although in fact it might be better to simply put the prosecution on notice that we would be seeking proof that there was adequate signage, and then they would have to produce it for us!

QUOTE (Jlc @ Sat, 24 Aug 2013 - 08:19) *
Is GSV up to date? I get the feeling we are being drip fed information and pictures that support the OP's point of view. Whilst it would be great to agree with that it would be better to form a view based upon the facts.

No, there were quite a lot of speed limit changes in 2010, including this one (it used to be 40mph - with illuminated signage!). The positions of some of the signs (and all the streetlights, I think) are still the same, but the limits have changed and there are additional signs such as those on the side road.

Annoyingly, since the changes and the introduction of a new pedestrian crossing right on top of the GATSO, there have been no tick marks on the road for about 2 years. I hadn't noticed that they had finally got round to replacing them until I went back and checked. (BTW are there any rules about the location of GATSOs in relation to other street furniture?

Sorry if it seems drip-drip. I'm trying not to give any more info that is necessary to get an answer, to avoid giving anything away unnecessarily to our friends in the law enforcement community. Happy to send you the GSV location off-forum if you want to have a look.
The Rookie
Unless you are off to court anyway due to the alleged speed, I think turning down a course or fixed penalty with the 'defence' you have will be very foolish.
mb1rgw
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Sat, 24 Aug 2013 - 13:25) *
Unless you are off to court anyway due to the alleged speed, I think turning down a course or fixed penalty with the 'defence' you have will be very foolish.

I agree that being offered a course is quite likely and probably the best course of action, but I was wanting to get all my ducks in a row...
The Rookie
So they can all fall down in succesion like domino's?

Sorry just kidding! ;-)
southpaw82
Defective signs is a defence by virtue of s. 85(4) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984

QUOTE
Where no such system of street or carriageway lighting as is mentioned in section 82(1) is provided on a road, but a limit of speed is to be observed on the road, a person shall not be convicted of driving a motor vehicle on the road at a speed exceeding the limit unless the limit is indicated by means of such traffic signs as are mentioned in subsection (1) or subsection (2) above.


You'll see it doesn't apply to restricted roads, such as this. At best I think you'd be into arguing special reasons not to endorse. With one 30 sign and 500m of street lighting before the camera I suspect you'd be hard pushed.
Logician
The complication is provided by s.85(5):
QUOTE
In any proceedings for a contravention of section 81 of this Act, where the proceedings relate to driving on a road provided with such a system of street or carriageway lighting, evidence of the absence of traffic signs displayed in pursuance of this section to indicate that the road is not a restricted road for the purposes of that section shall be evidence that the road is a restricted road for those purposes.


The NSL signs on the side road indicate that the main road to be entered is not a restricted road, but if you turn left you immediately encounter the 30mph terminal signs, however only the LH sign is visible because they are staggered, therefore the signage is defective. You therefore might have a case if the GATSO was close to the terminal signs, but since it is 500m further on and there are no NSL repeater signs, I would say that s85(5) above applies and the absence of signs is evidence that the road is restricted.
mb1rgw
QUOTE (Logician @ Sat, 24 Aug 2013 - 16:01) *
The complication is provided by s.85(5):
QUOTE
In any proceedings for a contravention of section 81 of this Act, where the proceedings relate to driving on a road provided with such a system of street or carriageway lighting, evidence of the absence of traffic signs displayed in pursuance of this section to indicate that the road is not a restricted road for the purposes of that section shall be evidence that the road is a restricted road for those purposes.


The NSL signs on the side road indicate that the main road to be entered is not a restricted road, but if you turn left you immediately encounter the 30mph terminal signs, however only the LH sign is visible because they are staggered, therefore the signage is defective. You therefore might have a case if the GATSO was close to the terminal signs, but since it is 500m further on and there are no NSL repeater signs, I would say that s85(5) above applies and the absence of signs is evidence that the road is restricted.

That's what I had wondered. However, the DETR guidance on the distance between repeaters (which statute says should be 'regular') says that, if this were a derestricted lit road, the first derestriction repeater need only be 450m from the start of the derestriction (which could conceivably be to the right of the side road), and 600m apart. The GATSO is close enough to the side road that I'm not sure one would necessarily expect to encounter a repeater, especially given that this is only guidance and there is no requirement that it be complied with to the letter.
southpaw82
This is where you have to decide on which course to take:

1. A SAC.

2. A guilty plea with special reasons not to endorse.

3. A not guilty plea.

I know which I'd be doing.
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