If there were just one thing you had to do to keep your city streets safer, you would have implemented it a long time ago. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that easy. Increasing public safety is an ongoing series of smaller actions that, together, add up to safer roads for us all.
It can sometimes be difficult to know where to start or what programs to implement to get the most “bang for your buck.” Here are six ideas that you can implement today to start moving the needle.
Element of Surprise.
When your officers are out on patrol, equip them with police lidar. Speeders caught using lidar were 4x as likely to have a radar detector vs. those caught with radar1 because the narrowness of a lidar beam doesn’t activate radar detectors until its too late for the driver to adjust their speed.And since speeding accounts for over 30% of wrongful death auto accidents each year2, catching the kind of people who are more likely to speed could make a huge impact on the safety of your city! If your department doesn’t yet have lidar, be sure that your officers use police radar with an “instant on” feature so they activate as few radar detectors as possible while on patrol.
While you are out checking vehicle speeds with your lidar unit, you can also check for tailgating violations. Tailgating causes over 950,000 injuries in the United States each year and is the cause of around 2000 deaths3. The Stalker Lidar RLR comes standard with following-too-close mode, which can accurately calculate the distance between two moving vehicles so you no longer have to guess.
The number one cause of road accidents in the US is distracted driving,4 which has proved to be a tougher problem to solve. People are quick to blame texting and cell phone use, which, while definitely a huge distraction, are not the only things that are pulling drivers’ attention away from the road. Chatting with friends, eating, checking maps for directions, and even ridiculous things like shaving or applying makeup while driving are all activities that can lead to accidents.Does your department do any public outreach to educate and remind your community about the dangers of distracted driving? If not, perhaps consider visiting high schools, community groups, or city events. Setting up a display with two cones set around a football field distance apart (the distance one covers while driving at 55 MPH in just 3.75 seconds) with various hazards can make a huge visual impact and educate drivers about just how much can go wrong during just a little glance at their screens, maps, or fellow passengers.
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…
Inform drivers about weather-related road hazards. Did you know that 21% of all vehicle crashes are due to inclement weather5? Most of our LED speed signs can be programmed remotely, allowing you to update speed limits and warning messages as conditions on the ground change. Stalker Radar has also recently introduced a set of flood sensors that can be attached to our PMG signs that automatically trigger a series of messages that change based on the water level on the road.
Give immediate feedback to drivers. Radar speed signs– the kind that flash an approaching vehicle’s speed and may also include messages like “slow down”- have been shown over and over to reduce speeds by 5-10%6, and this reduction in speed has been shown to remain consistent even years after the signs are installed7.Nudge theory8, a psychological technique that shows that subtle, gentle influences- such as signs that flash if you are driving too fast and stop flashing when you have reached the desired speed- can be an effective and generally inexpensive way to encourage desired behavior. Drivers get the emotional benefit of feeling that they have chosen to do the right thing, and dangerous behaviors like speeding can be reduced without additional expense and effort on the part of law enforcement.
Variety is the spice of life.
Certain areas, like those around schools, require consistent speed reminders to maintain the highest levels of safety possible. But sometimes your goal may be to decrease average speeds in your city in general, rather than just in particular spots.This is where mobile radar speed signs like those attached to speed trailers come in handy. Set your sign up in a certain area for a few days to a few weeks, reap the benefits of slower speeds, then move your sign to a different location to influence drivers there. Studies show that speeds continue to be reduced in areas that previously had radar speed signs for days after the signs are removed9.
On the Record.
Our Lidar, radar speed trailers, and speed signs all easily collect traffic data. Use the RLR Lidar to capture and store up to 3,000 datasets. Plug data from trailers and signs into our Traffic Data Analyst software to generate beautiful, easy-to-read reports. Share his information with your governing organizations such as your city council, your precinct management, and concerned members of your community to gather support for initiatives and projects.