Dan's Advanced Warning Signs are a ground breaking new safety initiative for New Zealand roads developed by local New Zealand Policeman – Sergeant Dan!
Dan has been a cop for thirty one years and for the last ten has been based in the Selwyn District as a local Sergeant attending all manner of call outs and incidents.
Dealing with road accidents has had the biggest impact on Dan and his career. After attending over 100 fatal accidents in his career, with a large portion of them in the Selwyn district, he decided enough was enough and that he was going to personally do something about it. So he joined forces with an innovative technology company and set about designing a new cost effective solution to help reduce vehicle accidents at rural intersections. From this the Advanced Warning Sign was born.
Watch as Dan takes us through how the Advanced Warning Signs work
The Advanced Warning Sign solution, which is being trialled in the Selwyn District, uses a combination of LED lighting, movement detection sensors and solar energy. The sign lights up to raises awareness of an upcoming stop sign to those driving on rural roads.
The signs are placed 200 metres before a stop sign at the intersection. When they detect an oncoming car within 130 meters they will flash alternating orange LED lights to grab the driver's attention warning them an intersection is coming up so they can prepare to stop. The signs are powered through solar technology, which make them energy efficient and extremely cost effective.
The locations for the trial are primarily in the Selwyn District just outside of Christchurch. Selwyn has one of the highest number of severe intersection incidents in New Zealand, which prompted Dan to develop the initiative. The locations for the trial were identified together with Selwyn District Council and AMI, using NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) crash data and AMI vehicle claims data to pin point the most at risk intersections that would benefit from the new initiative. Between 2011 and 2015 there were 209 injury crashes in the Selwyn District - 9 fatal, 73 serious injuries. Between 2009 and 2013, crashes in the Selwyn District accounted for $99.99 million dollars in social costs.
Rural intersections are maintained by local district councils and partly funded by NZTA, unlike State Highways which are fully funded by NZTA. Because District Councils only have limited budgets, rural intersections with low traffic flows do not justify significant financial expenditure on the new technology which you may see on State Highways which can cost between $35,000 to $70,000.
Dan's Advanced Warning Signs use cost effective technology and solar power which will provide a considerably cheaper solution for district councils, should the trial be a success.
Dan and the Selwyn District Council worked with NZTA to gain approval for the trial. The NZTA have approved the signs to be trialled on New Zealand roads to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of the signs, assess drivers' understanding and response to the signs, and measure drivers' behaviour at intersections controlled by the signs.
“The Council will be conducting the evaluation of the trial and will eventually take over the signs as part of the district roading network if they get final approval,” said Council Business Relationship Manager Stephen Hill.
The trial will run until October 2017 in order for data to be collated and evaluated.
AMI has been right here supporting local communities and helping to protect New Zealanders for 90 years. We're committed to supporting initiatives that help make our communities safer and this is a great example of that.
Merran Anderson, General Manager Marketing and Communications for AMI said when Sergeant Harker first approached us with his proposal we immediately identified the impact the trial could have. “We're glad that we have enabled Dan to make the trial a reality and look forward seeing the outcome.”
The trial has also been made possible by the support of the Selwyn District Council, Fulton Hogan, Solar Bright, NZTA and the New Zealand Police.