FORT JONES, Calif. – This summer Cal Trans is installing a deer detection system in a remote area of far northern California. The system involves the radar detection of deer and other large mammals (probably including humans, or Bigfoot) on the roadway. If an animal is detected, a warning sign posted near the location will begin to flash. Motorists seeing these flashing lights will presumably respond by slowing down and looking for the animals.
Cal Trans has selected a remote area of Highway 3 near Fort Jones to install this first system in California. There are 15 similar systems throughout the United States. This particular five mile stretch of road experiences approximately 60 deer hits per year. Presumably, if the pilot project is successful, it will be expanded to other locations. Our home website post on this subject elicits input from local motorists in Northern California to identify other locations and times when deer and other animals are dangerously prevalent on our roads.
The Redding Record Searchlight article on these detection systems notes that the device also detects the speed of the oncoming vehicles. Nothing is mentioned about using the device to enforce speed limits. Nevertheless, I would suggest that this not be considered. If speeding tickets were given at these very remote locations, I could envision some motorists or locals being motivated to damage or defeat that aspect of the device. Since the device must gather data about the oncoming vehicle to determine if a warning is necessary, such damage would defeat the entire system. The detection and warning system is a good idea, let’s not overreach.