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Road victims’ charity backs use of passive sign posts to reduce road deaths

Tuesday, February 15, 2022 - 09:16
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A national road victims’ charity has expressed its support for the use of passive sign posts and lighting columns in the reduction of deaths and injuries on the roads.

RoadPeace, which provides support to people bereaved or seriously injured in road crashes, is backing the use of passive posts that have been developed to minimise the damage caused to a vehicle and its occupants in the event of a crash.

Nick Simmons

Nick Simmons

Nick Simmons, CEO of RoadPeace, said: “There are too many objects at the roadside and we’ve supported far too many families whose loved ones have been killed following collisions with trees, lamp posts and other street furniture.

“Traditional poles and posts can have a serious adverse impact on vehicle passengers in a collision, so RoadPeace strongly supports the use of passive sign posts and masts.”

As outlined in the Institute of Highway Engineers’ Sign Structures Guide 2021, when a vehicle strikes a structure, such as a standard lighting column at moderate to high speed, it is probable that the car will suffer serious structural damage.

During a high-speed impact, even if the car remains relatively undamaged, the forces on the internal organs of vehicle occupants can cause fatal or serious injuries, despite the use of seat belts and air bags.

The document explains that by altering the properties of the column, the consequence of a vehicle strike can be greatly reduced. This is the principle behind passive safety and, correctly applied, does significantly reduce the risks to the vehicle occupants.*

Made in either aluminium, steel or glass reinforced plastic (GRP), passive sign posts have either high-energy, low-energy or non-energy absorbing qualities, which reduce the risk of injury to vehicle passengers in a collision.

The HiMast passive post, created by Varley and Gulliver, is passive in accordance with BS.EN.12899-1:2007 and BS.EN.12767:2007, and is designed to shear or breakaway following a vehicle impact.

Stacy Willis, Solutions Manager, at Varley and Gulliver, said: “Passive posts and masts play an important role in road casualty reduction by limiting the injuries sustained by a vehicle’s occupants in the event of a crash.

“We are really proud of our range of passive posts, which are strong enough to support large road signs, but are designed to break off safely if a vehicle collides with them, thus reducing the impact for the driver and other passengers.”


*https://www.theihe.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/IHE-Sign-Structures-Guide-2021.pdf

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