20 August 2020
The Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) supports the use of Automatic Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) in vehicles as a means of improving the safety for road users, but stresses the importance of improving and maintaining the infrastructure that will enable success.
The recently-announced call for evidence from the Department for Transport seeks views on the role of the driver and proposed rules on the use of the systems to pave the way towards the safe transition to ALKS, but it fails to acknowledge or recognise the importance of a holistic approach to supporting, funding and improving the infrastructure to facilitate this.
RSMA CEO Stu McInroy said, “The RSMA supports any move to improve safety for the road user, however, my concern is that Government is putting the cart in front of the horse, or in this case the car before the infrastructure. Government must understand the importance of ensuring the basic infrastructure exists to support this advanced and highly capable technology.
“ALKS technology relies heavily on high quality road markings to allow the vehicle to ‘read the road’. As road markings age and become worn, they lose reflectivity, and in some cases cannot be seen even by the human eye. Road markings professionally applied and maintained by a National Highways Sector Scheme 7 certified contractor are a minor part of the expense in bringing this capability to our roads, but are the pivotal element that shall determine success or failure.
“Only when our road network is adequately funded and maintained will vehicles using ALKS be able to operate as intended and cement the Government’s desire to become a world leader in automated-vehicle technology.”