Britain’s road signs could be replaced under EU proposal

This idea to bring in universal road signs across European countries has been proposed so that more cars can introduce intelligent safety technology, particularly traffic sign recognition cameras.

At present a small number of manufacturers have already been able to bring traffic sign reading technology to their cars in the UK market, a prime example being the latest Ford Focus. Traffic sign recognition technology is all set to feature on the new-generation Nissan Qashqai launching in early 2014.

The traffic sign recognition technology works by using an inbuilt camera which can identify and read nearby road signs ahead. When a traffic sign is read the tech can then transmit warnings to the dashboard of the car.

Onboard traffic sign recognition therefore brings an advantage as it can provide a visual or audio reminder to drivers of road speed limits and other signs if they happen to miss them on the side of the road.

With constant reminders to a driver regarding the laws of the road, it will mean there is less chance of an accident due to a loss of concentration or excess speeds.

With new road signs standardised across Europe, a lot more car manufactures could easier introduce traffic sign recognition cameras to their models. The gadget could then be used to its full potential by drivers even when planning on driving across several different EU countries.

Road safety organisations including the RAC and EuroRAP have already backed the European Commission’s proposal. The latter group said the scheme could reduce the number of road deaths on Europe’s roads.

The idea of changing Britain’s road signs does currently face barriers, however, as the Department of Transport (DoT) has recently denied that the change will be implemented.

Whether or not the new traffic sign proposal from the European Commission could still come into play at a future date remains uncertain for now.

If the European Commission’s idea is implemented then it could potentially have a massive effect on the way we read and understand road signs when driving. At present every country in Western Europe measures speed for cars in kilometres per hour (km/h), with the exception of the UK. A standardised road sign across Europe, however, means drivers in the UK could themselves begin measuring vehicle speed in km/h rather than miles per hour (mph).