Personalised road signs are popping up on state highways in a bid to capture drivers’ attention.
A Variable Message Sign on the SH2 corridor between Waihi and Omokoroa has a series of messages which reads ‘Shane works here’, ‘He wants to get home’, and ‘look after Shane’.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency acting portfolio delivery manager Jo Wilton says the team hopes this messaging will make drivers think about how the crews working on the roads are real people with friends and families who want to see them home safe every night.
Shane is an excavator operator on the Waihi and Omokoroa project and is one of several people whose names have been used on the VMS board messaging.
Jo says speeding through work sites is a significant problem nationwide, not only in the Bay of Plenty.
“Speeding vehicles can flick up loose metal and other objects, which can be dangerous to our road workers and other road users. Motorists also have less control at higher speeds. They may clip road cones and send them flying at our road workers or oncoming traffic, or lose control completely.”
Resident Shona Newton, works at a holiday park and has travelled that stretch of road twice a week for the last three years, says hardly a week goes by without an accident there.
“The signs have made it more personal. It brings to mind the death of the road workers in Whakatane.”
Shona says she feels ‘so much safer’ with the reduction of the speed limits.
“I don’t want the workers to lose their lives to idiots [who speed].”
Jo says within their worksites they regularly see vehicles travelling at speeds over the temporary speed limit, passing other vehicles where it is unsafe to do so and clipping road cones.
“All of which puts themselves, other road users and our road workers at risk.”
She says it’s important for road users not to become complacent.
“Changing out the messaging on the VMS boards is one way to help ensure this.”