It's well overdue that an "officially metric" country such as ours should demonstrate that offical line by changing the existing out-of-date road signs to metric. Most British drivers have been 100% educated in metric, and everyone's used to sports events using metric measurements for everything.

It is possibly not obvious that delaying any further on the speed-limits issue is actually a direct problem. However, is *is* a problem and here's why:

Councils all across the country are installing more and more radar-operated speed-warning signs as a technique for encouraging motorists to slow down where appropriate. ( I have no problem with that, it's a far better method than making criminals of perfectly good people who just happen to be looking out of the windscreen at the road rather than fixating on what their speedo says! )

However – these radar-triggered signs are in many cases physically built with arrays of LEDs that form the shape of a red roundel with "30" or "20" written inside just like the fixed speed-linit signs. And therein lies the problem.

When the inevitable switch to metric road signs does happen, those signs are going to need to be rebuilt. It's likely not to be the sort of thing that can be done by a council road gang at the side of the road. The signs will probably need to be de-mounted, taken back to the depot, changed, and then re-fitted. The "changed" bit might even require the sign to be sent back to the manufacturer.

This is going to cost MONEY. The longer we leave the switchover to km/h the worse it will get.

So the claim of this thread is – please repeal the out-of-date requirements of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions that are forcing the use of miles and miles-per-hour on our signs, and join the rest of the world using km and km/h.

The UK does have a land border with another country (Eire) that already uses km/h on its signs. You get to drive faster on de-limited Irish roads too because 120km/h is faster than 70mph.

Why is this idea important?

Other threads have raised the pros and cons of metric distance measurements, this one is intended to point out that further delay in switching to km/h for speed restrictions is storing up an expensive problem for later.

As I understand it, this government wants to save money. If it is serious about that then it needs to take into consideration avoiding spending money that will have to be wasted later.

Metric speed signs will give us a bunch of other advantages:

1) 50km/h is faster then 30mph so better throughput in urban areas.

2) 30km/h is slower than 20mph so better safety for children in dense urban areas.

3) The possibility of 40km/h signs.

4) It will annoy the hacks at the "Daily Fail" and "Daily Depress"!

5) Much less confusion near the border of the UK and Eire where Eire had the sense to make this switchover several years ago.

The main thing is to avoid the hidden costs of procrastination. I've mentioned the radar-triggered signs above as a prime example. However, don't forget that there's also a cost to the country's competitiveness associated with that fact that currenty many of the British public struggle to handle distances in km. In other words, much of the British public are innumerate in the world standard distance measurement system.

And that is seriously bad for the country.

2 Replies to “Switch the speed-limits on roads to metric ASAP. Delaying is starting to cost money…”

  1. I totally agree. The UK is the ONLY country in the WHOLE WORLD that makes metric measures on road signs illegal! Not even the USA goes that far, and many US roads signs – speeds and distances – are dual signed near the Canadian and Mexican borders. The UK is so out of step with the ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD that the government should be ashamed of itself, along with all those still wanting to persist with an outdated 14th century collection of measurement units virtually no-one else uses.

  2. Hey if you don’t like it, why don’t you move to France or something? We like Miles here.

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