Saturday 21 September 2019

Make sure you complain if you feel referendum posters pose risk

Our Road Safety Authority expert says: report cases to your local authority if you're concerned

Election posters
Election posters

With campaigning in the upcoming referendum under way, I don't think there is a pole anywhere in the country that doesn't have a poster cable tied to it.

According to the Depart-ment of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, people can start putting up posters from the day the minister announces the date of the referendum voting.

So postering was allowed to begin from March 28, the date the polling order was signed.

Every time there is an election or referendum we are contacted by members of the public expressing concerns about the poor positioning of posters, on road signs or on poles that obscure traffic signs or traffic lights.

We have even had cases of pedestrians and cyclists being struck by posters which have fallen off because they were not fastened properly.

While the RSA can't intervene directly in each case brought to our attention, we do try to take steps to make the relevant local authority aware of each complaint.

But what should you do and who should you contact if you wish to complain about the siting of posters on road safety grounds, in your local area?

Well there's a very useful guide to posters on the department's website which has lots of information on the laws surrounding posters at referendum and election time.

One law that I wasn't aware of is the need for every poster to have the name and address of the printer and of the publisher on its face. Leaving these details out is an offence.

The website says that various road traffic acts contain requirements to maintain clear lines of sight for road users which must be taken into account when placing posters.

The obvious places include junctions, road signs and roundabouts where a poster might pose a hazard.

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.

The Act also gives local authorities the power to take action to deal with posters that block the clear visibility of traffic signs.

I would encourage anyone who is concerned about dangerous or inappropriately positioned posters to contact their local authority directly. You can report them to the roads department of your local authority or by using the website

It's a handy website for reporting issues in your local area like graffiti, dumping, broken pavements, potholes and the flavour of the month, referendum posters sited in inappropriate locations.

As well as road safety reasons you can also be prosecuted under anti-litter laws, and the relevant law is Section 20 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997.

It really is essential that road safety continues to remain a priority in the lead up to the referendum.

The signage on our roads, whether put there by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, local authorities, the gardaí, or construction and road repair teams, are there to ensure the safety of 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.

The final word must go to campaign workers themselves.

Please ensure that any volunteers who are putting up posters are safe when working at the roadside.

It is vital they do not place themselves or others at risk when putting them up or taking them down.

And finally posters must be removed within seven days of polling day.

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