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Friday, May 14, 2021

Signs put a smile on your speed dial

It seems Canberra motorists are keen to see ‘smiley face’ road signs put on a happy face with an evaluation of the smiley face road sign trial reporting success in slowing down drivers.

The trial of the smiley face road signs, which aim to reduce speeding by reinforcing positive driver behaviour, ran from February 2018 until October 2019.  

Five signs were rotated around 17 different residential locations in the ACT, capturing about four million motorists. The data from each site shows that, no matter what speed limit, road classification, or school or non-school zone, the visual reminder provided by the signs has generally reduced speeds and decreased the number of motorists travelling over the speed limit.

According to the data, the signs have reduced travelling speeds by between 0.4-12.2 km/h; the presence of the signs has resulted in a marked increase in the percentage of motorists travelling at or below the legal speed limit of the road; and the majority of motorists continued to observe the signs’ messaging over the entire period of their installation, despite the signs being reminder signs only and therefore not enforceable.

ACT Minister for Road Safety, Shane Rattenbury, said he is pleased the signs have been a success in encouraging ACT drivers to be more aware of their travelling speed.

“The cameras are designed to provide positive reinforcement to people who are obeying the speed limits and driving safely, or provide clear feedback when they are not,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“This positive approach to road safety has helped residential streets be safer by reminding people to slow down.”

The trial was funded by a $40,000 Road Safety Community Grant with additional funding provided by Transport Canberra and City Services. Mr Rattenbury said given the success of the signs, the ACT Government is committing a further $20,000 from the Road Safety Fund to expand the project.

Recommendations from the evaluation report also suggest scope for provision of high-speed data to ACT Policing to inform their enforcement activities.

The Justice and Community Safety Directorate will also soon develop a community awareness campaign focusing on safe speeds, to support the existing speed reduction initiatives. 

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