BY MELANIE BUCK –
The City of Mena has purchased and implemented the use of a mobile speed sign to help decrease the number of traffic accidents and help drivers to be mindful of their speed. “We average 25-30 wrecks a month and this will be a useful tool to help get those down,” explained Mena Police Chief Brandon Martin.
“The purpose is to remind people to slow down and pay attention to what you’re doing. The goal is to reduce the amount of wrecks in the city,” he went on.
Mobile speed signs are interactive signs that are generally constructed of a series of LEDs that display the vehicle’s speed as drivers approach. Studies have shown that the use of mobile speed signs have reduced speeding in areas by 85% and, streets where signs were installed continued to experience speed reductions even two years after the signs were installed.
Mena Mayor George McKee said, “I go to Tulsa quite a bit to see family and they have them in between Big Cedar and Talihina and they made me slow down, so I thought they would be good here.” McKee said they get complaints from residents on certain streets about speeding traffic. “A lot of people request “children at play” signs in situations like that. Now, we can place the sign there and that will help slow them down.”
McKee also said that just seeing the sign is a deterrence to most drivers. “Whenever I see one, I think there is probably a policeman there close by. If it will slow me down, it will slow others down. I think it will be good for our town. It’s another precaution to help our citizens. The police try, but they can’t be everywhere at once so I think it will make people think.”
The City purchased the sign in late 2016 for around $3,000 and spent approximately $600 on a trailer and having someone local do the metal fabrication. Martin said the department saved around $2,800 by doing the work themselves.
The sign not only displays the driver’s speed, it also keeps a tally of vehicles coming through and what their speeds are. That information can be downloaded to a computer and help identify problem areas. It’s a solar powered sign as well, making it a self contained unit. In addition to the signs, Martin said his officers will continue to monitor traffic and “try to keep things slow and good.”
Being a mobile unit, the sign will travel to different areas of the city at random. “If we get complaints about an area or we see something going on in an area, we can set it up there. It will be a useful tool for us,” Martin said.