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Police to put up huge fences at scenes of motorway crashes to stop rubberneckers causing traffic jamsGovernment purchased 3,000 screens measuring two metres in heightScreens cost 2.3 million and form part of DfT's CLEAR initiativeScheme aims to improve accident clear-up times750 million cost to economy due to traffic incidents in England every year
21:47 GMT, 27 December 2012
Drivers who peer across motorway lanes to observe the aftermath of crashes are to be thwarted in a bid to prevent traffic jams.
The Government has bought more than 3,000 special crash site screens to stop drivers 'rubbernecking’ when passing motorway accidents.
The new partitions will be put up to deter drivers who slow down to look at crashes on the opposite carriageway and therefore slow down the traffic behind.
Partition: 3,000 screens, measuring 2.1m by 2m, have been purchased by the Government to prevent motorists from slowing down to stare at motorway accident scenes, therefore causing traffic jams
The screens have cost the Government 2.3 million – with each set priced at 22,000.
The Highways Agency will have access to 105 sets of 30 screens, forming part of the Department for Transport’s ‘CLEAR’ initiative.
The scheme aims to improve accident clear-up times, with ministers promising that the screens will help ‘keep the motorways flowing’.
The CLEAR scheme – an acronym that stands for Collision, Lead, Evaluate, Act and Reopen – was launched last year to help ensure motorways and roads reopen quickly following major accidents.
As part of this scheme, 105 sets of incident screens will be made available for use by the Highways Agency next year.
Each set can be loaded onto purpose-built trailers that can screen up to 75 metres if used end-to-end.
The individual screens measure 2.1m by 2m high.
The Government estimates that the scheme will save the UK economy ‘tens of millions of pounds' every year.
Congestion: It is hoped the screens will ease congestion following accidents on motorways. The screens cost 2.3 million
A DfT spokesman said: ’The planned roll out of incident screens shields collisions and prevents rubber necking. Time savings associated with screens alone can be up to several hundred thousand pounds per incident.'
A well as the screens, the DfT has helped fund funded 38 3-D laser scanners that allow police forces to capture evidence quickly following collisions by mapping out where vehicles and wreckage lies in the road after a smash.
Other initiatives include the launch of a new hands-free smart phone app that notifies users of incidents and congestion.
The Government hopes the measures will reduce the estimated 750m cost to the economy that caused by traffic incidents on England's roads every year.
Roads minister Stephen Hammond said: ‘This will be another great advantage to hopefully clearing up collisions but also getting the roads moving rather more quickly afterwards.
Cost: It is estimated that traffic incidents on England's roads cost the economy 750 million every year
‘People will recognise these screens, recognise that something's happening behind it, but actually realise it won't impact on their motorway – there's nothing to see, and we want to keep the motorways flowing.’
Assistant Chief Constable Sean White, who takes the lead on collision investigations for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said: ‘This equipment allows police to manage critical events in a more efficient way and present the most accurate and detailed evidence to criminal, civil and coroners' courts.’
RAC Foundation director, Stephen Glaister, said the use of the screens should be welcomed, noting: ’Incident screens reduce disruption to traffic following an incident and assist the emergency services.
‘Ensuring that motorists not involved in an incident complete their journeys safely and on time is important. The economy relies on an efficient road network. Traffic jams following incidents increase frustration and the risk of low speed collisions.’