Mary Tavy War Memorial

Update from the Mary Tavy Parish Council Working Group on Speeding and Road Safety

A working group of parish councillors was formed in August 2019 to address concerns about traffic speeds through the village and the impact this has on road safety. Following a number of meetings of the Group, a public meeting was held on the 26th November 2019.

3 main topics were addressed at the public meeting:

  • The establishment of village gateways
  • Upgrading our current Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) to units that record data. The data could, in principle, help the Parish Council, the police and Devon County Council Highways Department (DCCH) focus their resources on improving road safety in the parish.
  • Restarting a Speedwatch initiative.

While it was made clear that DCCH and the police do not currently accept 3rd party data from VAS, it was felt by many at the meeting that the possible upgrading of the signs should be investigated further.

Shortly after the meeting, the council received data from DCCH from a speed recorder they had installed for about a week in the village (we believe this was located at the current VAS position adjacent to the Down’s garage site). The results from this DCCH survey were:

  • 50% of vehicles using the A386 were travelling at speeds of 28.5mph or less. This is the 50th percentile value.
  • 85% of vehicles were travelling at speeds of 33.4mph or less. This is the 85th percentile value.

Based on these results, DCCH advised the council that they did not consider speeds to be high enough to merit any further road safety improvements.

Many councillors and parishioners were surprised at the low values measured by DCCH and the decision was made to hire a speed recording device to gather our own data. We used the device over an approximate 3 week period in late January and early February 2020 at 4 locations on the A386 in the village. Interestingly, analysis of the data gave results not greatly dissimilar to those from DCCH:

50th percentile value              85th percentile value

DCCH data                                                                                         28.5 mph                                 33.4 mph

Our data (same camera position as DCCH)                                29.0 mph                                 35.0 mph

Our data (combined from 3 camera locations)                          30.5 mph                                 36.25 mph


It should be noted that these results were obtained before the Covid-19 restrictions markedly affected traffic volumes. One thing we will need to bear in mind is how traffic volumes and driver behaviour may be different when restrictions are lifted.

There will be a debate on whether the parish council should proceed with upgraded VAS or keep the existing signs when council meetings are able to reconvene after restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 virus are lifted. In the meantime, opinions and suggestions from parishioners are welcome and will help steer the debate and decision making. Please contact the Clerk of the Council, using the contact form on the website or email (), or Councillor Nick Butland (Chair of the Speeding Working Group) at if you would like to make your views known.

The attached documents contain a much more detailed report on use of the speed recorder and a series of charts and tables; these will give interested parties a better view of progress to date.