Apr 8, 2024 - News

King County gets smart street signs

An electronic street sign flashing "PHONE DOWN."

Photo: Timothy Hogan/Courtesy of SmartSigns

Drivers in King County prone to speeding, using cellphones or not wearing seat belts, be warned: Smart signs are watching.

How it works: Under a pilot program, four signs with sensors that use microwave and infrared technology to detect driver behaviors are being placed at a variety of locations in King County, according to a statement from the King County Target Zero Coalition.

  • The signs, which drivers may see from now through July, will flash appropriate cautionary messages such as "BUCKLE UP" or "PHONE DOWN" in real time.
  • Good drivers, however, may get a smiley face, KUOW reports.
  • Each sign will remain at one location for about eight weeks, per the county coalition.

Among the cities and neighborhoods participating in the campaign are: Seattle, Maple Valley, White Center, Skyway, Kenmore, Issaquah and Newcastle.

  • The first locations will include Front Street in Issaquah and Airport Way in Seattle, per the Seattle Times.

By the numbers: Traffic deaths rose 11% in Washington last year even as deaths nationwide decreased by 3.6%, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics.

  • In King County, more than 900 people were seriously injured or killed in traffic collisions last year, per the coalition.

What they're saying: When left in one area over four weeks, the signs reduce distracted driving by up to 40%, SaferStreet Solutions CEO Tim Hogan said in a written statement.

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