Under “threat” of drone strike, drivers are encouraged to watch their speeds.
July 20, 2013
Several signs “warning” drivers of drone-enforced speed zones were mounted along highways in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The professionally-made metal signs read “Speed Enforced by Drones” and show a Predator drone drawn in a possible homage to a recent Anthony Freda painting.
“It is a black and white reflective sign, just like the signs that we use on the side of the road for speed limits and everything else,” California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Barclay told CBS San Francisco.
California Highway Patrol said that the signs are fake.
“At CHP we definitely do not have drones,” Officer Barclay said. “We use radar, lidar, pace, we have planes and we have helicopters, but we do not have drones.”
“Along with not having drones we definitely do not have any drones that would fire any type of weaponry.”
According to Officer Barclay, the signs violate Section 21465 of the California Vehicle Code, which states that no one may place a sign on a highway that imitates an official traffic control device.
The quality and mounting of the signs rival real traffic signs.
“One of the signs that we found on Highway 37 was actually mounted using tamper-resistant bolts,” Officer Barclay said. “The other two signs were strapped using metal strapping on poles on the side of the freeway.”
The signs utilize headlight reflective materials so night-time drivers can easily be reminded to watch their speeds in these non-existent, drone-enforced speed zones.
But will the use of drones to catch speeders always remain a fantasy?
Interdepartmental drone sharing will become more common as the Department of Homeland Security promotes a “layered security strategy.”
As domestic drone use increases, it is not totally inconceivable that police will eventually use drones to enforce speed zones.
One person commenting on the drone signs at Jalopnik.com shares a similar sentiment.
“This may just be a prank, but I honestly believe that we will see drone-based highway enforcement in the not-too-distant future,” the commenter said. “Small drones are becoming less and less expensive, and will soon likely be less expensive to patrol highways with than with a police cruiser (especially taking fuel costs into consideration.)”
“This might not be our reality today, but I would be surprised if this were not a reality within a decade.”
So the next time Kowalski speeds down the highway in his ’70 Dodge Challenger towards San Francisco, he might fear drones more than the desert.