Motorway screens to stop rubbernecking

Accident boards to stop rubbernecking
3 Jan, 2013 12:46pm Chris Ebbs

New boards will stop other motorists from slowing down to look at crashes

The Government is to roll out 3,000 screens in a bid to stop motorists from slowing down to look at crashes on the opposite carriageway.

Bought by the Highways Agency, the new boards will be placed around serious accidents or deaths on roads in an attempt to reduce traffic jams.

Each set is made up of 30 screens and can reach 75 metres if used end-to-end, with each individual screen measuring in at around 2.1m by 2m high. The total cost for the screens was £2.3m, with each set costing £22,000.

The screens are set to come in to use sometime in the next 12 months, with a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman claiming that they could be in use by the summer.

The screens will form part of the Government’s CLEAR (Collision, Lead, Evaluate, Act and Reopen) initiative, which began last year and attempts to get roads reopened quicker after accidents and keep other traffic moving. Other measures include 38 DfT/police funded 3D scanners that allow police to capture evidence quicker, and a smart phone app that notifies drivers of any incidents.

The Government is hoping the new measures will help reduce the estimated £750 million cost to the economy incidents on UK roads cause.

What do you think of the new measures? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About 100yrs too late.

ermmm in the picture above the other side of the motorway is rammed!! Fail.

£2.3m taxpayers money well spent....

Yep. It's the flashing lights and people in hi-vis clothing that makes people slow down in the hope of seeing something. They're not going to be discouraged by a few screens, and may in fact look for longer to try to catch a glimpse.

Will be interesting to see how they perform in windy conditions!

I think a large stick is more cost effective for these freaks out to catch a glimpse of some gore. Failing that, I think the screens may at least add some levels of respect to those injured / fatally injured rather than having bored lorry drivers taking their photos!! Get a grip Britain!

£700+ per screen, bit expensive, and going by the picture they dont work

There is a theory that delays on the opposite carriageway are the result of a traffic "compression wave" occurring at the moment of the accident, caused by the instinctive braking and subsequent slowing of those witnessing the event. This could explain those long delays where there is nothing to see when you reach the head of the queue - the accident has already been cleared. If so, there is little point in screening off the result, as "rubbernecking" is not the actual cause of the delay.

Surely this dodges the issue of the type of drivers/mentality that can't concentrate on the road ahead without having a gawp at this, that and the next thing - i.e. cr*p drivers.

From the photo, it's just HERAS block & mesh fencing with an obscure panel fastened to it. And yes, unless properly braced, they don't fare well in windy conditions. A good idea, but at £700 a panel I cant help but feel they've been grossly overcharged (again).

That should slow down the management / reopening following an accident .....

They should fine people who stop to look at accidents on motorways because they will create one themselves. They should also fine people who put fog lights on when it isn't foggy aswell !!

30 years of motorway driving clearly tells me that they wont work, as high vis clothing and flashing lights will attract rubberneckers. Grow 6ft high hedges in the central reservation would eradicate the issue and stop you being blinded by fools with incorrect headlight alignment. Spend the money prosecuting middle lane drivers and those who have fog lamps on in the rain. I dread driving on the motorways at weekends, different class of driver,

It will take longer to put the screens and take down waste of money and time. Need to record all visual information quickly and get the road way moving. If people stop,hgto

Rear fog lamps are of some use in really thick fog and anything which might possibly stop someone ramming one up the back does give a little peace of mind! As for front fogs they seem to offer very little extra over a modern pair of headlamps and to be more to do with the status of one's vehicle than utility. (To avoid any accusation of my being "chippy", my present car has front fogs!)
As with any abnormal situation on the road, the trick is to avoid being reckless on the one hand and causing a hazard on the other, either by undue timidity in bad weather or rubber-necking at incidents. Avoiding rubber-necking is easy, getting the balance right in adverse conditions needs judgement.

At the risk of huge hatred, I'm going to defend rubbernecking. Well, not rubbernecking itself, but slowing down to rubberneck. Whatever happens if there are loads of flashy lights on the other side of the road, screens or no screens, its going to be distracting and take some of your concentration away. Surely its safer to have that concentration lapse at 40 than at 80? Generally, the slowing down tails back to before you can see the accident, so you have nothing to distract you while the traffic slows down, then, going at a slow speed, you can afford to take the occassional glimpse at the flashy lights, ooh exciting! (not) and then after the accident you can safely speed up again. Better to do that than speed past the accident at 80, look across for 1 second and end up on the bonnet of another car. Obviously in an ideal world no-one would look across the carriageway at all, but thats never gonna happen, so surely the next best thing is for people to look over whilst going slowly. Now obviously that's annoying for us who it slows down and the government who it costs economy (or something) but that's a far safer option than the alternative. (And obviously it goes without saying that people will need to slow down in a safe manner, not jamming on the ABS 20 metres before you hit the car infront.)

snappyuk is right. As soon as people see the screens, they'll slow to look at whatever they can. We need central reservation boarding similar to that in use on European motorways. With that, you don't even know that there's an incident on the other carriageway.

Another alternative is to beam a live view of the incident on large tv screens on both sides of the motorway, that way you can satisfy other motorists curiosity and not need to slow down or strain your neck to catch a glimpse!