Moose detectors a joke: MP

Steve Bartlett
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Too early to tell which system best prevents moose accidents, says minister

Transportation Minister Paul Davis

Speaking to The Telegram about his recent collision, Newfoundland MP Ryan Cleary suggested the province needs to do more to keep moose off the highway.

Cleary said he didn’t think the two experimental detection systems on the island were the answer. He said they only work half the time and called them a joke.

“People are laughing about the fact they are driving by these detection systems and there are moose trotting by and the system doesn’t light up,” Cleary said.

Noting that fencing has helped reduce collisions in New Brunswick, the MP said the Newfoundland and Labrador government should consider more of that.

The province’s minister for Transportation and Works said the province hasn’t committed to anything yet, and is still gathering information on various options being tested.

Paul Davis said there are two different sets of these experimental detection systems, one in the eastern part of the province and one in central.

Fencing is being tried in the western part of the province, he noted.

“They are pilot projects to test the capabilities of known technologies that exist today to see if they are worthwhile investments to reduce accident rates with moose,” Davis said.

The minister said his department doesn’t yet have sufficient data to make a final decision on the best option.

He acknowledged there have been recent issues with the electronic systems, which were both installed by Safeguards Canada.

The central system, located just east of Grand Falls-Windsor, was damaged by a motor vehicle collision and parts had to be ordered to repair it.

The sensors on the east coast, located east of Salmonier Line, had software issues.

Davis said it’s valuable to know how long it takes to repair a system once it’s damaged, and also if software upgrades can bring the setup to where it should be.

As for the fencing on the west coast — which runs west of Gallants Road junction to east of Barachois Pond Provincial Park — Davis said it appears to be functioning well, although there was a moose-vehicle collision there recently.

“So, we know that it’s not a foolproof system,” he said. “We know collisions can happen there.”

Davis noted that whatever system the province installs, it wouldn’t help reduce the possibility of collisions where Cleary had his.

He said the accident happened in Terra Nova National Park, where the Trans-Canada Highway is a federal responsibility.

The provincial Department of Environment and Conservation has also increased the number of moose hunting licences along the Trans-Canada.

Twitter: @SteveBartlett_

Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway, Department of Environment and Conservation

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Grand Falls-Windsor Gallants Road Barachois Pond Provincial Park Terra Nova National Park

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    November 06, 2012 - 14:47

    I said it before and I will say it again. How is fencing going to stop the other 95% of accidents and deaths on our highway? Like we witnessed the past few days, moose are the least of your worries on the highways..

  • gord
    November 05, 2012 - 22:21

    I think "Codfadder" got it right. The problem is not with any detection system, it's the drivers! Nuff said.

  • Brian
    November 04, 2012 - 16:32

    The moose fence outside Holyrood appears to be completely ineffective, based on my subjective observation. I've seen it gone off 6-7 times with no apparent moose about (maybe they were) in October; also, came across two moose and a car which had hit another, no warning lights. False positives and false negatives... of course, the only way to tell if they are *factually* effective is to compare pre-installation and post-installation incidents... then try to tease out what might have caused the difference (i.e., they do entail additional signage, posts beyond the ditches, etc. that may influence the driver as well).

  • Jaret Manuel
    November 04, 2012 - 01:20

    Instead of pointing fingers, playing the blame game, and thinking we all know the answers, all eyes should be set forth on solutions that are backed by research and science to mitigate highway human casualty while respecting wildlife. A fence system may be an option in full or partial in heavy moose traffic areas but that is a considerable amount of fencing. Instead of blocking moose to the highway there may be merit for giving wildlife bridges that resemble their preferred environment, tunnels, etc to allow them to cross with interest. For example, . It' is time we start thinking as leaders rather then followers. Commenting with insults does absolutely nothing. We need to collectively rethink these challenges. We often joke that the chicken crossed the road to get to the other side. Moose are likely no different while willing to forgo roadside salt if there is a better way! @JaretManuel

  • Tim Jamison
    November 03, 2012 - 21:19

    Ryan Cleary a joke: everyone else

  • apellbe
    November 03, 2012 - 18:44

    The solution is SIMPLE....Fencing iborders all major mainland highways. How stun have they gotta be before our government figures it out? We don't need any test sensors. We need fences people. SIMPLE !

  • BWJ
    November 03, 2012 - 18:11

    The lights are a farce Driving into town about a month or so ago I witnessed a moose scratching his back on one of the poles.No warning lights. Too much traffic and I was alone to be able to take picture

  • terry dawe
    November 03, 2012 - 15:25

    I think there should be a government study done on moose whistles to see some how if they actually work on vehicles. There must be some way to find out if they actually work or not.

  • cottage country
    November 03, 2012 - 14:34

    THE NDP PARTY are a joke. since when could moose read signs mr. cleary. maybe use a bit of common sence when driving on the highways in my home province of newfoundland/labrador. any one with a brain know that moose come into the open to get away from bugs, and they enjoy the salt vegetation that grow along the highway. it doesn't take a scientist to figure that out. so go back to ottawa with your 307 other overpayed political friends and educate yourselves on how moose live, or do we need to send a kindergarten class to show you how?

  • taxpayer
    November 03, 2012 - 13:01

    why didn't he take a helicopter to gander. i am sure if he contacted mr. mckay and the DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE would have given himself, scotty simms, jackie harris, scotty andrews, judy foote, and gerry byrne a free ride on our dime. when it comes to taxpayers money it seems the overpayed politicians no how to abuse it. NOW THATS WHAT CALLED A JOKE !

  • moose man
    November 03, 2012 - 12:48

    does this guy( member of parliment ) know the difference between a moose and a seal. besides wasn't he the fellow who is against the seal hunt. whats dumb idea is coming next from the NDP.

    November 03, 2012 - 12:37

    first of all: why was this mp driving from st .johns to gander to catch a flight to and from ottawa? secondly: why did this mp who represents a newfoundland riding and who as nothing to do with alberta, tour that province, wining/dining, on our dime? mr. cleary also stated that the moose system was a joke. maybe mr. cleary should use common sence when driving by night and obey highway speeds. in-closing: the NDP party ( federally ) and the MANITOBA NDP are a joke. your ndp buddies here in manitoba have us over a billion dollar deficit for the fiscal year, user fees on just about everything, 2.5 tax on gasoline, crumbling roads, a useless museum no one wants. inquiries coming out of their ears, so before you use the word JOKE, maybe your leader, yourself, and other overpayed buddies should look in the mirrow.

  • DON II
    November 03, 2012 - 12:02

    I agree completely with Ryan Cleary, the so called Moose Detectors are practically useless. I recall driving on the Trans Canada Highway outside St. John's and had just passed through the section of road that was covered by the Moose Detector system when a huge Bull Moose appeared on the road. So much for being protected by the Moose Detector system in Newfoundland! I recently drove through the Province of New Brunswick on my way to Ottawa, Ontario and noted that the Trans Canada Highway was fenced on both sides virtually all the way from the border with Nova Scotia to the border with Quebec. I did not see a single Moose during my travels across New Brunswick. The media should send in Access to Information requests to the Government of Newfoundland to find out why the Moose Detector option was chosen and how much tax payer money was shoveled out the door to pay for Moose Detector technology. It appears that the Moose Detector system will not work when the system develops a glitch or runs out of power. Fencing along the Highway while labor intensive and very expensive, is the only hope of keeping Moose off the highway in Newfoundland.

  • Trevor
    November 03, 2012 - 11:14

    Moose fencing is not the answer either. I drive from Stephenville to Corner Brook everyday for work and have noticed an increase in moose from Gallants to the Route 460 exit (Stephenville Access Road). Moose are big dumb animals, they wander around the fence and up the highway and can't get back out unless they happen to walk along the fence for a couple of kilometres and stumble through a one-way gate. Plus it's an absolute eyesore, I can only imagine what tourists think when they see it.

    • Paul Rose
      November 06, 2012 - 19:26

      I agree completely! Besides that, I used to see many moose years ago when driving. Now I hardly see any. I hear it all the time from tourists that they think moose are a myth in Newfoundland....they want to see moose and don't. If we don't stop viewing moose as a nuisance and see them for what they are....a valuable meat and tourist resource, we will be in trouble. Slow down. Realize that if you choose to travel at night when you know there is risk, you are taking a chance. If you have an accident, its your don't blame the moose. I, for one , would like to see more.

    November 03, 2012 - 11:03

    I am sure there can be some kind flashing lights and noise making device that would be triggered by a large animal movement that would scare the _ _ _ out of any Large animal going close to a Highway instead of fencing all the roads

  • No Fences
    November 03, 2012 - 10:42

    Then Cryin' Ryan will complain how ugly the fences are.

  • Codfadder
    November 03, 2012 - 10:22

    The detection system will never be effective because it relies on people actually paying attention and slowing down when the lights are active. Drivers in this province have a long, hard history of being ignorant to signage and warnings, and nothing short of flat-out stopping the moose or the drivers will ever garner any real results.

  • crabby
    November 03, 2012 - 10:16

    They should have put those two sensors on either end of George st. and put the fencing along the highway.

  • Lynx
    November 03, 2012 - 09:37

    It's a toss-up as to what is more dangerous ------ The moose or the idiots with there guns.

  • David
    November 03, 2012 - 09:23

    Mr. Cleary is laughing, but he doesn't "get" what the actual joke really is.......that so many Newfoundlanders have so quickly become completely viscerally intolerant of the most iconic symbol of our province, all because a bunch of "nouveau riche" oil supply boat deckhands can't drive their plastic imported sports cars faster. That's the joke --- expensive and bizarre as it is.

  • Skeptical Cynic
    November 03, 2012 - 09:16

    People who don't moderate their speed when driving the highway at night are a joke too.

  • Fred Russell
    November 03, 2012 - 08:51

    I always thought this system was a joke. In June my wife and I drove Alligator Alley between Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Florida. Alligators were everywhere but both sides were fenced in. Can't imagine trusting this type of detection system there....Moose kill just like gators kill but in a differant way ! Wake up Minister Davis.

  • Robert
    November 03, 2012 - 08:09

    It is my considered opinion that long before there is an actual moose collision there are people driving by seeing a moose on or near the area. The issue becomes how do we tell the person behind or ahead of us that a moose has been seen so that they can adjust their driving speed. To me the solution is quite simple! When a person driving by sees a moose he should be able to toss a highly visible object out his window. And if several people see the same moose and do the same thing it would simply confirm that a moose is in the area. The next day it would be a simple thing for police to drive by and recover the warning devices. I am sure this would be much better for police then having to respond to a tragic moose accident.

    • Joe
      November 03, 2012 - 11:55

      Hahahaha! That's hilarious! You made my day! Hahahaha!!!!!! ( Please be joking... please)

  • Unfortunate son
    November 03, 2012 - 07:51

    Ryan, people are laughing that you drive to Gander to board an airplane. I wonder who's paying the mileage for those trips.

  • Jay
    November 03, 2012 - 07:50

    Oh dear, Ryan Cleary is mad again, and blaming someone else for his own stupidity. This accident could have been easily prevented, but it seems you're more interested in complaining about safety than actually doing something about it. Here are a few suggestions: You could have flown into St. John's, isn't this where you wanted to go? Yes, we all know about the important point you're trying to make about the strike at the airport, but why should taxpayers have to pay your additional travel costs of driving through half of the province to make a political point. Why are you driving at night? Do you not know about the increased risks inherent in night driving? Drive SLOWLY. The posted speed limits are for ideal driving conditions, not for night driving in the middle of moose season. Finally, take some accountability for your own actions. Your hissy fits are starting to get on people's nerves.

  • roy
    November 03, 2012 - 07:47

    Mr. Cleary knows and admitted that some moose accident are caused by speeding, not in the sense of exceeding the posted speed limit, but going to fast for weather conditions. I have seen it you have seen it and we all have done it we drive to fast at night and during adverse weather conditions . Wait until the first snow fall and drive the Manuels by pass and the outer ring road and others and count the vehicles off the road. If you cannot see clearly more than 80 0r 100 ft why do we driving at a speed where our stopping distance is twice or more than that distance. Should we put a dome over our hwys to protect ourselves from ourselves

  • Gail
    November 03, 2012 - 07:45

    There have been moose accidents in New Brunswick even though they have fencing. The idea is to reduce, not eliminate accidents. No system is 100% effective. Personally, I think people get a false sense of security when they drive through areas with any safety or warning system in place. They think oh, the lights aren't flashing so they're can't be a moose or they think moose can't jump or go around fences, Your own eyes and the speed you're driving are the best safety systems.

  • TJ
    November 03, 2012 - 07:44

    If people were to slow down, not be distracted by phones and other devices. Your never going to stop moose accidents totally, but if people used common sense while driving it would help! Also the tree/bush line should be cut back on some road for better view of what could pop out on the road

  • Gail
    November 03, 2012 - 07:44

    There have been moose accidents in New Brunswick even though they have fencing. The idea is to reduce, not eliminate accidents. No system is 100% effective. Personally, I think people get a false sense of security when they drive through areas with any safety or warning system in place. They think oh, the lights aren't flashing so they're can't be a moose or they think moose can't jump or go around fences, Your own eyes and the speed you're driving are the best safety systems.

  • Mark Noel
    November 03, 2012 - 07:17

    Cleary is the joke! And with his paltry pension, he won't be driving much longe anyway.