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The end of humping

It's the news motorists have been waiting for: the Department of Transport has decided to make it easier for councils to slow down traffic without having to resort to the suspension-wrecking speed bump.

At the moment, if a council wants to put up a speed limit sign, or paint the road, it needs permission from Whitehall. But not if it installs a speed bump, which has led to a proliferation of so-called 'sleeping policeman,' simply because it's a way to avoid time consuming paperwork.

But under changes announced by road safety minister Norman Baker, councils will no longer need permission from central government to install signs.

'Signs can do the job cheaper and more effectively without annoying people,' Mr Baker said.

The mood was jubilant among motoring and safety groups. 'If this means the sleeping policeman is finally dead and buried then few will mourn his passing, though it would be good to see more real, live, vertical policemen out and about on the beat making sure the few errant drivers stick to the law,' said Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.

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