Electronic Stop Signs Aim to Reduce Intersection Crashes

Published: 26-Nov-2018

Electronic warning signs were installed at two high-risk Waimakariri intersections late last week.  They are aimed at reducing harm from road crashes and work by detecting oncoming vehicles and flashing orange lights to alert drivers of the upcoming intersection.

The ‘Stop Ahead Advance Warning Signs’ (SAAWS) are part of a two-year trial and are situated on Johns Road (Fernside on the approaches to Plasketts Road intersection) and on Early’s Road ( West Eyreton on the approaches to the Tram Road intersection).

Intersection crashes account for around a quarter of all crashes in the district and due to the nature of the impact which usually occurs, being side impact, the risk of harm is very high, particularly on higher speed roads.

Council Road Safety Co-ordinator Kathy Graham says any intersection can be risky, particularly those with higher speeds, but both these intersections also have a notable crash history.

“There are often a number of factors that lead to a crash,” Kathy says. “As road users we all hope that other drivers take every care and follow the road rules, but we also know as humans we can and do make mistakes and unfortunately on the road this can have devastating consequences.”

The SAAWS were initially trialled in the Selwyn District after being developed by NZ Police Sergeant Dan Harker to address the issues he and his colleagues were dealing with relating to decisions that motorists make around intersections and the resulting death and serious injuries that were occurring.

Sergeant Harker says he is ‘very proud’ to be part of the initiative and was delighted that a couple of West Eyreton locals approached him when he was helping put the signs in to say thank you.

“It’s awesome when you get those sort of reactions,” Dan says. “It just shows how important road safety is to most people.”

The Selwyn trial evaluation showed a reduction in crashes and no fatal or serious crashes had occurred since the signs had been installed.

The trial, which is being rolled out at several other areas in the South Island also, will be monitored and assessed on its effectiveness.

The cost of the signs is being funded by IAG and ACC.