Almost 60% of drivers that encounter the ‘C’ sign on the M25 take it to refer to the London congestion charge zone when it indicates the Dart Charge payment system, a survey by the AA has revealed.
Reported on the Business Car web site, the monthly AA Populus poll in June revealed that 87% of drivers in London are likely to be misled by the ‘C’ sign’s meaning, compared to 70% of drivers in the south east.
The AA claimed only six per cent of the 25,810 members surveyed recognised the sign as indicating a road user charging scheme.
In a separate survey the AA found that 52% of the 28,265 respondents said they were aware of the charging scheme at the crossing.
There are no toll booths on the crossing, having been phased out in November last year, meaning motorists can only pay the crossing fee (a maximum of £2.50 for a single car journey) if they have a Dart Charge pre-paid online account, or pay online, by phone, text or at a Payzone shop after using the crossing.
The Dart Charge system uses automatic number plate recognition technology to track vehicle number plates and then administer a charge, or fine, to that vehicle.
“Presenting drivers who are unfamiliar with the Dartford stretch of the M25 with a puzzle while they are supposed to be concentrating on a busy road is very poor,” said Paul Watters, AA head of roads policy.