“Why is my phone making that noise? Oh, a police vehicle is approaching- I’d better move to the side of the road to let it go by!”
Some drivers in Michigan are having this exact experience, as they participate in a pilot to provide advance notice of an approaching police vehicle. The system, called a “digital siren,” delivers sound-based notices through the Waze app, via iPhones and Android devices. The goal is to provide drivers with notification up to 30 seconds before a police vehicle approaches.
The earlier a driver knows they should move to the side of the road, the quicker the police vehicle can arrive at its destination. If police do not have to slow down and wait for drivers to clear the road ahead, police response times can be reduced- always a good outcome. Plus, as collaboration between civilians and police drivers increases, driving risk for everyone goes down.
During the first month of the pilot, police employed the siren system while responding to 300 incidents; nearly 23,000 drivers have received alerts during that time. It may be that drivers will see significant expansion of this type of “Responder-to-Vehicle” (R2V) system- keep your ears open!
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