Drivers travelling along the Linford Pierson Highway might have noticed the recently installed digital speed signs.
The SpeedCheck-15 signals, mounted a few inches away from the kerb on both sides of the road, display the speeds of approaching cars. Each solar-powered sign uses radar technology to detect the speeds, which are then displayed to drivers on a LED screen.
A spokesperson for Carmanah Technologies, the Canadian company that developed the signs, said the products fall under the category of “traffic-calming devices”.
“The purpose of the signs is to catch your [the driver’s] attention, so you can self-correct your speed,” said Andrea Corno, Carmanah’s marketing specialist. “The goal is to get drivers to slow down. Many studies have shown that the speed at the time of the accident will greatly determine its severity. If we can get a driver to slow down by even five miles, that could greatly decrease the level of damage or even reduce the chances of a fatality.”
Since 2015, two fatal accidents and many collisions have occurred along the Linford Pierson Highway. In the case of Matthew Owens, 31, speed was said to have been a determining factor in his September 2015 accident. Owens died following a collision that involved his motorcycle, a Toyota Mark II and a BMW.
In 2018, the RCIPS ramped up its traffic-enforcement efforts resulting in 2,128 tickets being issued for speeding; a 326% increase compared to 2017, which saw 652 speeding tickets given out.
Cayman Compass staff stationed a few feet away from the new signs for 30 minutes witnessed drivers clocking as fast as 58 miles per hour. Each time the sign showed a driver’s speed exceeding the 40 mph limit, most motorists reduced their speed.
“We have seen that, when it comes to the use of the SpeedCheck-15, as much as 85 [percent] of drivers reduce their speeds when they see how fast they are travelling compared to the speed limit,” said Corno.
She said SpeedCheck signs help to re-focus drivers.
“When driving, you’re not always paying attention to your speed and, even if you started off within the speed limit, you can sometimes increase your speed without realising it,” said Corno. “Drivers can also become desensitised because of the large amount of signage along the road; however, the SpeedCheck signals are designed to re-focus drivers.”
The RCIPS has repeatedly stated that an issue such as speeding is multi-faceted, and that safer roads will require joint efforts from various government departments and ministries.
Recently, the National Roads Authority installed flashing beacons at crosswalks across parts of George Town, as well as along the West Bay Road corridor. LED stop signs have also been installed at the junctions of the East-West Arterial and Hirst Road and at the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and Batabano Road. These signs were also manufactured by Carmanah.
It’s not clear if more SpeedCheck-15 radar signs will be installed along other roads across all three islands. The Compass reached out to the NRA seeking a comment on the cost of the signs, but had not received a response by press time.