DRIVERS are being urged to kill their speed, not an animal, on Dartmoor’s roads, with new interactive traffic signs launched this week.
The signs, which warn motorists if they’re exceeding the 40mph speed limit across Dartmoor, have been brought in to reduce the numbers of animals killed on the moor’s roads.
They’re being sited at key locations in an attempt to reduce the numbers of ponies, sheep and cattle killed or injured each year on Dartmoor’s roads.
The signs are being funded by a partnership between the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society, Dartmoor Forest Parish Council and Dartmoor National Park Authority.
Last year 160 animals were killed and 28 seriously injured on the unfenced roads across the moor.
Karla McKechnie, Dartmoor livestock protection officer, recorded 188 traffic accidents involving animals during 2016, nearly double the 2015 figure.
She said: ‘160 animals were killed and 28 seriously injured on the unfenced roads. The amount of animals suffering is enormous with 32 ponies, five cows and 123 sheep dying at the roadside from horrific injuries.
‘I’m called to many of these accidents and see the horror at first hand. My priority at accidents is to put fatally injured animals out of their suffering. Then I have time to consider why the animals were hit and usually it is obvious from the appalling injuries and damage to the vehicle that speed played a big part.’
Andrew Watson, head of access and recreation at Dartmoor National Park, said the new signs were to remind motorists of the mandatory 40 mph speed limit.
He said: ‘We ask that all who use Dartmoor’s roads drive with “moor care”, taking into account the road and weather conditions, and within the mandatory speed limit. Motorists should expect the unexpected and drive accordingly.’
Cllr Gregg Manning, of Dartmoor Forest Parish Council, added: ‘The moors are not just a means of getting from A to B but a working landscape where the animals have the right of way.
‘I am very pleased we have been able to assist in funding this equipment. It’s hoped these signs will help to remind drivers of the correct speed when on the moors. This is a good example of what can be achieved through collaboration.’