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Drivers that flout the Variable Speed Limit restrictions in place along a busy stretch of the M4 around Newport will face tougher enforcement action.

First published:
25 July 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The warning is being issued ahead of a new safety campaign being launched today [25 July] which aims to ensure drivers are more aware of and adhere to the variable speed limits in place on the M4 between Junctions 24 (Coldra) and 28 (Tredegar Park) before enforcement action is stepped up. 

The Welsh Government introduced a Variable Speed Limit along this stretch of road in 2011 as a means of reducing congestion and improving safety and journey time reliability. 

Infrastructure and technology installed along the motorway between Junctions 24 and 28 monitors traffic flow and calculates the optimum speed limits for current traffic volumes.  The limits are lawfully displayed on the electronic Visual Message Signs [VMS] above lanes and at the sides of the road.

When vehicles travel at consistent and similar speeds, journey times become more predictable. Congestion and queuing is reduced as traffic continues to flow steadily and the risk of collisions from vehicles approaching the back of queues is lessened.  

Ken Skates explains: 

“Since its launch the scheme has helped to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of collisions along this stretch, with the majority of drivers adhering to the limits in place.

“However, a minority of drivers continue to flout the displayed limits and act as if the restrictions do not apply to them so it is these motorists we are primarily targeting with this awareness campaign and subsequent enforcement action.”

The campaign is being led by GoSafe, Wales’ Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, and it will consist of two stages. 

Phase one will focus on an education and awareness drive, to alert motorists that tougher enforcement will shortly be coming into effect. It will include publication of the number of offences captured on that stretch of motorway and a grace period for drivers during which those who exceed the stated limit will receive warning notices.

The second phase will focus on enforcement and those caught exceeding the speed limit displayed will be issued with a Notice of Intended Prosecution.

GoSafe Partnership Manager, Chris Hume, adding his support to the initiative, said: 

“Managing the speed of traffic through this busy section of the M4 Motorway is vital, and proactive enforcement of the variable speed limit assists GoSafe in achieving its strategic goal to make people safer on Welsh roads by reducing casualties and saving lives.” 

The Cabinet Secretary added: 

“There is always room for improvement in road safety and everyone has a responsibility for improving safety and playing their part.  The M4 variable speed limit is just one element of a multifaceted approach the Welsh Government takes to improving road safety on the motorway and trunk road network as a whole.   

“Working with GoSafe and other partners we want to improve safety and reduce the risk of road traffic collisions, particularly those which result in serious and fatal injuries, and this scheme aims to do just that through a mixture of education and enforcement.”