The Highway's Agency will soon begin deploying portable motorway screens to hide accident scenes from passing motorists. The anti-rubberneck partitions are designed to reduce the number of cars that slow down to get a better look at accidents and incidents, causing tailbacks in the process.

These screens wil prevent passing motorists slowing down to rubberneck at accidents.
These screens wil prevent passing motorists slowing down to rubberneck at accidents.

More than 3,000 screens, each of which measures 2.1m by 2m high, have been purchased. They will be divided into 105 sets, each of which can consist of 30 portable partitions, and placed at depots at strategic locations around the UK. Used end to end, the partitions can cover up to 75m of motorway. Each set cost a whopping £22,000, with the total purchase cost estimated to be £2.3m.

The Government is confident the screens will help reduce the estimated £750m cost to the economy that incidents cause on motorways in England every year.

The rubberneck screens have been purchased as part of a scheme that also aims to improve accident clear-up times. The Department for Transport's CLEAR - collision, lead, evaluate, act and reopen - initiative was launched last year to help ensure motorways and roads reopen quickly after major accidents.

Other CLEAR initiatives include laser scanners that rapidly produce a 3D image of an incident scene, reducing the time it would take investigators to painstakingly survey multiple sections of a scene. 

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.”

"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."

RAC Foundation director, Stephen Glaister, said the screens should be welcomed as they speed up journeys.

"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," he said.

The screens will be deployed across the UK in 2013.

Via: BBC News