UAE: New smart speed limit signs set up near schools, residential areas in Sharjah

The signs have been installed to 'significantly reduce' the risk of accidents in sensitive areas

By Ruqayya Al Qaydi and Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 10 May 2023, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 11 May 2023, 2:34 PM

The Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority (SRTA) has taken a significant step towards improving road safety by installing smart speed limit signs in key areas of the city. The smart signs have been placed in school zones, residential areas, and pedestrian crossings to help ensure the safety of all road users.

According to a video shared by the authority, the interactive signs are powered by a smart speed detection system. At the top of the signs is the speed limit of the road. It captures the speed of vehicles passing by in real-time. If the vehicle is within the limit, the sign displays in green the actual speed, along with a smiling emoji. If not, the speed is shown in red with a sad emoji, alerting the driver to slow down.

The new signs aim to encourage drivers to stay within the speed limits, which will significantly reduce the risk of accidents in the targeted areas.

Speed limits in school zones vary from 30 to 40kmph in the UAE, with fines ranging between Dh300 to Dh3,000, depending on how fast the motorist goes over the limit. In residential areas, the limits vary between 25 to 40kmph.

Watch the video here:

Emoji speed signs are not generic

Back in 2017, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority had installed similar smart signs in school zones. These were for 40kmph school zone roads, with officials explaining that “exceeding the speed limit, even by a small margin, may cause run-over accidents and injuries among students”.

The authority had cited scientific studies that suggested such signs encouraged motorists to drive safely as these messages display individual drivers’ speeds as opposed to being a generic display of the speed limit.

Filipino expat Ben Lebig said there are emoji speed signs in Silicon Oasis, where he lives. “Personally, I feel it’s a great way to alert road users that they are speeding. My neighbourhood is densely populated, and many children, including my daughter, walk to their karate classes with many cars passing on the main road. So, it’s a good way of encouraging people to slow down.

“Even when we go to the nearby supermarket, my wife reminds me that I must make sure that the speed sign is smiling. It psychologically impacts drivers when you see the green smiling face. When we accelerate, we don’t always look at the speedometer, but the moment you see the emoji frowning or smiling, you almost immediately become alert. It’s commendable if other Emirates also embrace this idea, as emotional cues indeed prove to be impactful,” added Lebig.

Dubai resident Arijit Nandi, who goes to drop his son at school every morning, said regular speed limit signs are very generic.

“A smart sign catches everybody’s attention, including mine, and alerts me to look at my speedometer. Additionally, I feel there is some public shame in displaying my misdeed to other road users. Imagine the person in the car next to mine seeing that emoji and judging me. My private deed has become public, and I must admit that changes my behaviour for the better,” Nandi added. /


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