Mirror plea fails on legal liability fears

This Is Wiltshire: Mirror plea fails on legal liability fears Mirror plea fails on legal liability fears

Wylye Valley residents have been left frustrated by Highways Agency officials, who said they could not replace a road mirror at a dangerous junction for fear of litigation.

On Thursday, senior Highways Agency managers attended the Warminster Area Board meeting to discuss safety at the A36/Manor Road junction at Upton Lovell, where they intend to impose a restriction preventing drivers exiting the village.

There were six serious accidents at or near the junction between July 2011 and June 2012, including three deaths; the last that of village resident Stanley “Rocky” Knight in June, just hours after the agency put up a new mirror.

Mr Knight’s daughter, Jenny, who was involved in a crash at the junction two years ago, was among those at the meeting calling for the mirror to be replaced.

“Like many people here, I have to deal with the real emotional and physical consequences of that junction,” she said.

“Rocky knew that junction like the back of his hand. Using it was so much easier with the old mirror. With the current small mirror, it is too dangerous.”

She pleaded: “Please do something before another family ends up in my position.”

Upton Lovell Parish Council chairman Jon Perrett read from a statement which echoed her views. He said: “We know a long-term solution is required to make it safe.

“Between now and then, we want a mirror like the old one, which served the village well.”

However, regional planning manager Andrew Page-Dove said the agency could not replace the mirror – which gives scarcely two seconds of warning of on-coming traffic – for fear of being found liable should an accident occur.

Upton Lovell residents were joined by farmers and business owners at Warminster Civic Centre meeting, in opposing a proposed “experimental traffic order” to prevent traffic exiting, and possibly entering, the village.

They argued that the back route out of the village was itself a dangerous road, un-gritted in the winter, and that it was soon to be closed while bridge strengthening work was carried out by Network Rail, potentially leaving the village isolated.

Councillor Perrett said: “This is not what we want. We want an appropriate mirror which is fit for purpose.

“Rather than fix the mistake made with the replacement, you want to isolate the village from the community.”

When board chairman Andrew Davies asked if temporary traffic lights had been considered as an alternative to the order, Mr Page-Dove admitted that they had not.

He said no decision had been made on any short or long-term solution to problems at the junction and on the A36 in general.

He added that the agency would prefer to have Wiltshire Council’s support if it were to impose the traffic order, but could go ahead alone if it was deemed necessary.

Yesterday, a Highways Agency spokesman said the body was still considering feedback from the area board meeting.

A full inquest on Mr Knight is expected to take place in January.

Comments (6)

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6:52pm Wed 14 Nov 12

tobruk says...

Easy temporary solution:- Put in traffic lights. Also widen the road and put in a right turn lane into Upton Lovell for vehicles turning into the village from Warminster.
Easy temporary solution:- Put in traffic lights. Also widen the road and put in a right turn lane into Upton Lovell for vehicles turning into the village from Warminster. tobruk

6:46am Thu 15 Nov 12

cght36 says...

So for the time being the villagers will still be putting themselves at danger til the idiots decide what they are going to about it!! Simple like Tobruk said put in traffic lights!! I always slow down when going through as I know the junction and its history but alot of people dont.
So for the time being the villagers will still be putting themselves at danger til the idiots decide what they are going to about it!! Simple like Tobruk said put in traffic lights!! I always slow down when going through as I know the junction and its history but alot of people dont. cght36

10:05am Thu 15 Nov 12

west1 says...

20mph limit with average speed cameras!!

simples.

whilst i despise the money making cameras with a passion it seems an ideal location for them!!!
20mph limit with average speed cameras!! simples. whilst i despise the money making cameras with a passion it seems an ideal location for them!!! west1

1:04pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Mae-be says...

Litigation? Surely the highways agency are liable for any accidents on the road as it is? Especially as the current mirror is too small?! Even a sign won't necessarily remove THEIR liability should someone use it as a guide.
The junction as it is is entirely unsuitable; I am often over taken by people who do not read road signs, can not understand the concept of speed limits and generally in all likelihood are the ones to cause the accidents but who will walk away with only a wounded pride.
Answer - Traffic lights, they worked at the Highpost on A345 in to Salisbury from Amesbury, why not here?
Less consultations, more actions!!
Litigation? Surely the highways agency are liable for any accidents on the road as it is? Especially as the current mirror is too small?! Even a sign won't necessarily remove THEIR liability should someone use it as a guide. The junction as it is is entirely unsuitable; I am often over taken by people who do not read road signs, can not understand the concept of speed limits and generally in all likelihood are the ones to cause the accidents but who will walk away with only a wounded pride. Answer - Traffic lights, they worked at the Highpost on A345 in to Salisbury from Amesbury, why not here? Less consultations, more actions!! Mae-be

8:23am Mon 19 Nov 12

Highways68 says...

CPO and demolish the building that blocks site lines (even if listed - lives are worth more than bricks), cut back vegetation in either direction and maintain it, even on private land, ENFORCE the existing 40mph limit on the approach to the junction and maybe make sure that the VAS on the approaches that have been erected are working??!??! A fatal accident costs in excess of £1m, how many times over could this junction been sorted without this huge cost to people lives??? There is noting here that isn't within the Highways Agencies power to do.
CPO and demolish the building that blocks site lines (even if listed - lives are worth more than bricks), cut back vegetation in either direction and maintain it, even on private land, ENFORCE the existing 40mph limit on the approach to the junction and maybe make sure that the VAS on the approaches that have been erected are working??!??! A fatal accident costs in excess of £1m, how many times over could this junction been sorted without this huge cost to people lives??? There is noting here that isn't within the Highways Agencies power to do. Highways68

11:16pm Mon 19 Nov 12

moonrakin wurzel says...

As I understand it - the plans have been drawn up, the route agreed all that is required is the political will to improve the A36 - all of it.



As far as the Highways Agency is concerned - I heard that the meeting was somewhat heated with The Highways Agency trying to bulls**t their way out of screwing up the mirror... and wheeling a parade of lame, clueless ill researched nonsense.

We deserve better than this from our specialist public servants.

In the short term - traffic lights could be trialed by the villagers for a few weeks - what's to stop 'em?
As I understand it - the plans have been drawn up, the route agreed all that is required is the political will to improve the A36 - all of it. As far as the Highways Agency is concerned - I heard that the meeting was somewhat heated with The Highways Agency trying to bulls**t their way out of screwing up the mirror... and wheeling a parade of lame, clueless ill researched nonsense. We deserve better than this from our specialist public servants. In the short term - traffic lights could be trialed by the villagers for a few weeks - what's to stop 'em? moonrakin wurzel

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