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Slow Down in West Hartford and the Sign Will Smile at You

Drive the speed limit or below when you pass one of West Hartford's new electronic signs, and you will see a smiley face. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Town of West Hartford has recently implemented a creative way of discouraging speeding.

By Ronni Newton

Motorists traveling at or below the speed limit on certain West Hartford roads will receive positive reinforcement – a smiley face – as part of a creative and cost-effective attempt to slow speeding drivers.

The West Hartford Town Council approved the town’s Engineering Division’s solution, and with the assistance of the Department of Public Works, 14 of the innovative signs were installed throughout town on major roadways.

Motorists who are speeding as they approach the signs – even just 1 mph about the limit – will see the words “SLOW DOWN” and “TOO FAST.”

Two of the signs give positive reinforcement to drivers who are not speeding. On North Main Street near the American School for the Deaf and South Main Street near Rockledge Golf Course, those who are traveling at or below the speed limit will be rewarded with a smiley face emoji on the sign.

“These signs are excellent tools for use around neighborhoods to persuade people to slow down,” said Capt. Jeff Rose, who heads the West Hartford Police Department’s Traffic Division. “For most people who are conscientious, it’s going to have an effect.”

Rose said the signs are spread around town to reach as many people as possible, and are a great way to get people to drive the speed limit.

While the signs are not targeting specific drivers, they are collecting information on traffic speed and volume that will be used for planning purposes by both the Engineering Division for traffic flow and the Police Department for enforcement efforts.

Police will also be deploying a new trailer-mounted sign.

Town engineers would like input from the public about the smiley face reaction, and may add it to other signs if it’s well-received. To contact the Engineering Division, call 860-561-7539.

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30 mph is the speed limit on South Main Street near Rockledge. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A smiley face emoji provides positive reinforcement to drivers traveling at or below the speed limit on South Main Street. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Traveling about the speed limit, for example 40 mph when the limit is 30 mph, and some negative messages will follow your posted speed. Photo credit: Ronni Newto

Exceed the speed limit and you will see the words “TOO FAST.” Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Exceed the speed limit and you will see the words “SLOW DOWN.” Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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