Signs to help out police and increase safety

SAFETY: John O'Hara (left), Murray Allison of Selwyn Community Patrol and Senior Constable Andy Williamson with one of the electronic signs which aims to target bad driving in Selwyn.

Community watchdogs have joined the crusade against bad driving.

Two electronic signs with safety messages have been temporarily placed on roadsides in the district in a bid to make driving in Selwyn safer.

It is a part of a Community Patrol of New Zealand project which is being managed by the Selwyn Community Patrol and supported by Selwyn police.

The signs are kept on trailers and police have been helping advise where to park them.

Patrol secretary Murray Allison said the signs will be in the district until early September, with the message and location continuously changing.

He said the initiative follows concerns about “what happens on rural roads and driving in general.”

Last week the sign, which said “no cellphone use,” was on the side of Springs Rd near Lincoln University targeting those who text while driving.

Mr Allison said they see people in Selwyn using their cellphones while driving “all the time.”

“A lot of tradesmen do it and a lot of women drivers do it, I hate to say it, but they do,” he said.

Senior Constable Andy Williamson said he “fully supports” the project and thinks it’s a great idea.

“Anything we can do that’s going to get through to people to make them think,” he said.

Senior Constable Williamson said cellphones are “a major distraction” and are a “large cause of crashes.”

Mr Allison said it’s hard to say whether the signs, which have been provided by Fulton Hogan, will make a difference but they do make people think twice about their actions.

“Certainly when we put the stop one up we sat down the road for a short time and saw what happened and people were certainly stopping,” he said.

When the four-week trial finishes, Mr Allison said there will be a review and it will decide whether to keep the signs in place.

“It might become a more permanent fixture, it might stay there all the time,” he said.

The signs are also being trialled in Ashburton.