More than £130,000 of road safety equipment that does not fully work has been installed across Caerphilly County Borough.
Many of the 58 Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) have been in place over a year but the council are unable to collect data from them as they are missing sim cards and phone lines. The signs display the speed that a car is travelling at.
A Freedom of Information request by Caerphilly Observer found that although the signs make drivers aware of their speed, they do not record data that can be used by the authority to prioritise road safety spending – despite this being one of their functions.
The signs were bought with money from the Welsh Government and various community councils.
Two VAS are located on Caerphilly Mountain Road, the A469, where campaigners are fighting for a road barrier to protect their homes and children after three cars crashed into back gardens over a three-years period.
Caerphilly County Borough Council told campaigners a barrier would cost £35,000 and campaigner Rhiannon Williams said: “I wish the signs were fully functioning as they would see what the speeds are like on a day-to-day basis.”
In a separate Freedom of Information request, Mrs Williams was told no historical data from the units could be was downloaded despite being recorded.
The response stated: “All of the VAS units recorded the speed of passing cars. Whilst the VAS units can be used to gather/download traffic data, the primary purpose of VAS units is to improve driver awareness of speed limits and warn approaching drivers who are travelling in excess of that limit.”
Campaigners for the barrier have been in contact with the road safety charity Brake in a bid to publicise their appeal.
Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, said: “Many VAS are used simply as warning devices, to make drivers aware of their speed and encourage them to slow down.
“There is some evidence to suggest that VAS used in this way do help reduce speeds. However, if VAS are being used that have the capacity to record speeds, this can be an invaluable tool to help prioritise speed enforcement.
“It is surprising that Caerphilly Council is not taking advantage of this capability on a road that clearly has a serious speed problem. Brake fully backs residents in their campaign to improve safety on the A469.
“Nobody should have to live in fear of fast traffic crashing into their homes, and they should not have to wait for a tragedy before something is done.”
A spokesman for Caerphilly County Borough Council, said the delay was due to “procurement issues”.
He said: “The vehicle activated signs have been used for some time and have proved to be an effective visual deterrent to help reduce the speed of traffic.
“An added benefit is that they also allow data to be downloaded from the signs for analysis. Special SIM cards and phone lines will be installed shortly, meaning the signs will be fully operational in the near future.”
Caerphilly Observer asked the council to confirm whether phone lines had been ordered for installation.
They replied: “The council is following the necessary process to ensure value for money. Works will be carried out in due course.”