Slow and steady: the law of the car park

Tortoise riding on toy car.

‘No need to speed’ is the theme for the UK’s Road Safety Week 2020. Road Safety Week is coordinated by the UK charity Brake and this year it will take place between 16-22 November. It aims to educate communities across the UK about the dangers of reckless driving and speeding.

According to Brake, 1,784 people were killed on British roads in 2018, while 25,511 people were seriously injured. Although the highest number of fatalities were motorists and their passengers, 2018 also saw 456 pedestrian deaths in the UK.

The ‘No need to speed’ campaign will educate drivers to travel at safer speeds, update the public regarding changes in technology, and ensure that business owners and employers are aware of their responsibilities with regard to road safety regulations.

Safe driving and the law

Businesses with driveways, car parks or drive-through areas need to be aware of the legal requirements involved in maintaining road safety for these zones. Employers are responsible for ensuring that traffic is managed on site, speed limits are observed, and that all directional and safety signs are visible and accurate.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to take steps to protect their employees while at work. Their responsibilities include the safety of those employees who are required to drive or ride in a vehicle.

While employers cannot completely control the actions and safety of staff, it is important to mitigate the dangers involved in driving for work. This can be achieved in part through providing education and training for staff on the meaning of traffic safety signs and signals used in the workplace.

The importance of signage in the car park

Signage plays an integral role in pedestrian safety in car parks. It is an employer’s responsibility to adhere to the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 and ensure that all hazards, risks and directional requirements are clearly demarcated with highly visible signs.

Managing traffic flow can be difficult in car parks and especially in areas such as construction sites, where layouts are frequently changing. It is important to keep a range of traffic and car parking signs on site for both permanent installation and more temporary solutions.

The correct placement of signage is critical, as signs need to be installed in areas that are highly visible to both pedestrians and motorists. Maintenance is also a key consideration for traffic signs as the majority are located outdoors, and it is vital to perform regular checks to ensure that they have not been rendered illegible through the effects of weather, vegetation or vandalism.

Traditional traffic calming measures for the car park

There are a number of steps you can take to calm traffic, ensure safe entry and exit, and enforce speed limits on your worksite. There is a wide range of car park management equipment that can be used to improve safety in parking lots, car parks or on roadways. Parking blocks, for example, can be employed to control the position of parked vehicles, while one way traffic spikes and traffic flow plates can be used to prevent vehicles from moving in the wrong direction. Lockable hinged posts, barriers, line marking equipment, traffic cones and bollards, and other essential equipment will ensure that parking is well organised, parking facility speeds are maintained, and cars adhere to one-way traffic flows.

The future of the speed bump

With a view to the future of safety technology, Seton has developed an innovative speed bump product that combines multiple strands of technology to revolutionise traffic management. A finalist in the 2019 ‘Tomorrow’s Health and Safety Awards’, this speed bump features an innovative ground fixing system to provide an extra durable, super strong speed bump, with hold-fast technology that minimises danger to the bump itself. If you are looking at ways to increase the safety of your roadway or car park, this is a simple, effective and cost-efficient method – and it comes in a range of different heights to slow traffic according to the specific needs of your workplace.

Disclaimer: The information provided through Legislation Watch is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Legislation Watch is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.

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