Why election posters are getting few votes from an angry public
Our Road Safety Authority expert reports a tsunami of complaints and urges candidates to put safety first
LIKE an outbreak of the measles, election posters have appeared almost overnight on our roadsides.
It's no exaggeration to say we have been inundated with phonecalls and correspondence about them from the public in recent weeks. All express concern about the positioning of posters on road signs or on poles that obscure traffic signs or traffic lights. Some have reported close encounters with them when they were blown off a pole because they weren't fastened securely.
While we can't intervene directly in each case brought to our attention, we have taken steps to make the relevant local authority aware of each complaint.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the election fever that grips candidates in the run-up to polling day seems to blind them to the obvious road safety considerations. It's a concern for us and judging by the reaction we are getting it really grates on the public's nerves.
We recently wrote to the various directors of elections to ask them to remind their political parties and campaign workers of the need to take care when positioning posters. However, when members of the public contact the parties directly with their concerns, they are being told that responsibility for the erection of posters, or positioning of posters, lies firmly with individual candidates.
It really is essential that road safety continues to remain a priority in the lead-up to the local and European elections. The signage on our roads, whether put there by the National Roads Authority, local authorities, the gardai, or construction and road repair teams, are to ensure the safety of motorists and all road users.
Campaign posters should not be placed in a way that distracts road users, obscures vision or road signs in any way. This is particularly important at traffic junctions and roundabouts.
To illustrate just how important this is, we received an email last week from a really concerned person. This gentleman highlighted a junction that was festooned with posters, some obscuring road signs and others which block the driver's line of sight. His problem was that this busy junction, which was already the scene of a number of fatal and serious traffic collisions, was now being made more dangerous as a result of all the posters.
It's worth repeating that it is an offence to erect any sign or notice that makes a traffic sign less visible to road users.
For anyone interested, the relevant legislation is Road Traffic Act 1961, Section 95, Subsection 14.
But the Act also gives local authorities the power to take action to deal with obstructions that impede the clear visibility of traffic signs.
And we would encourage anyone concerned about dangerous or inappropriately positioned election posters to contact their local authority directly.
The final word must go to election candidates themselves.
Please ensure that your army of volunteers who are putting up these posters are safe when working at the road side.
It is vital that campaign workers do not place themselves or others at risk when erecting or dismantling posters.
And throw on a hi-viz jacket so you can be seen.