Moose sensors work as they’re supposed to, says minister

James McLeod
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Transportation Minister Paul Davis

Despite software glitches and public frustration with the moose sensor pilot project on the Trans-Canada Highway, Transportation Minister Paul Davis said for as long as they’ve been operational, there have been no moose accidents in that area.

On the other hand, he said, the same thing can’t be said for the trial moose fencing the government has put on the highway on the west coast.

“I was very interested to learn there’s actually been two moose-vehicle collisions within the fenced area since the fence was installed,” he said. “These systems are pilot projects. A pilot project is an opportunity to test technology, test a potential solution and determine if it’s effective, is it viable, what are the costs, what are the operational issues and so on?”

Davis wanted to explain a few things to people after a demonstration in the Confederation Building lobby from members of the Save Our People Action Committee (SOPAC) who are pushing the government to do more to prevent moose accidents.

SOPAC spokesman Eugene Nippard said he doesn’t think the sensors do any good, don’t work and that they provide a false sense of security to drivers.

Davis said part of the problem is  the system works by using sensor beams between the posts — a high one and a low one — and if something breaks both beams, the warning lights flash for three minutes.

“It’s not uncommon for a moose to turn around and go back into the woods. So what has happened is people have been travelling through the area, they see the lights flashing and they don’t see an animal, and we get called (and they say) it’s not working,” he said. “The moose may graze or stay near the side of the road for more than three minutes, or be in the median or up on the highway itself.”

Davis added that the other component of the province’s moose efforts is a system to log the exact location of every moose-vehicle collision.

When they figure out what works, they’ll also know the key areas to put the proper devices in.

“If we’re going to make further investments in these types of systems, the first thing is we have to know they work,” he said. “Second thing we have to know is, where do we put them?”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway, SOPAC, People Action Committee

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Recent comments

  • Thomas
    November 24, 2012 - 23:42

    What happens if a rabbit or a fox goes through the sensors and sets them off and a moose or 1 moose and family come through after the rabbit or fox set off the lights and you see the fox or rabbit and then thinks its ok and then the moose comes out of no where and you can do nothing about it. How would you say then that the sensors work?

  • Dwayne Harris
    November 24, 2012 - 18:56

    I drive a truck and travel these areas all the time.The lights do not work properly,I have watched many moose come onto the highway and no lights have come on.The fences on the other hand keep many moose off our highway and despite two accidents without the fence it would be alot higher in this area.People do speed up in the fencing area thinking that moose will not be on the highway.The minister is looking at this completly wrong based on his information.Everyone needs to slow down no matter what the government may or may not do,drive safe.

  • Mr Bull Moose
    November 24, 2012 - 16:31

    This is really funny. Mr Davis, a former police officer, trying to sell us something that was a total waste of money and suggesting that because there has not been a moose / vehicle accident on a 1 kilometer streatch of highway the waste of money was a wise expenditure. Next thing he is going to tell us that, since fencing doesnt work, it will be a good investment to install this system on every kilometer of highway in the province. Obviously moose in New Brunswick are far more stupid than Newfoundland moose because the fencing is proven to work there.

  • Catherine Baker
    November 24, 2012 - 13:15

    The system worked wonderfully when I was travelling into St. John's in August and it was foggy and dark... Thankfully the lights were flashing so I was able to know to drive with extra caution and I did indeed see a moose a little ways off the road that I would never have seen without the sensor system.

  • moose hunter
    November 24, 2012 - 12:08

    since when could moose read signs mr. minister? moose are territorial animals. they will stay in places where their food sources are high especially around highways where there is salt content. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. go to a kindergarten class and get the same answer. drivers have to be always alert and focus on driving especially at night where the headlights confuse and blind these large animals.

  • bayman
    November 24, 2012 - 12:02

    Seriously I have not spoke with anyone that would trust those sensors and based on my own experience, I would not. Who is this guy trying to fool? Keep going Mr Nippard

  • carogers
    November 24, 2012 - 11:06

    The moose detectors work as they are supposed to???? Do you ever drive over the high way? There are often moose in the area and the lights don't flash the system just doesn't respond every time. Its hit and miss. Which means it is NOT woriking as it is supposed to. Why is the MHA just trusting people who have their own reasons for not telling the truth, better yet why does the MHA not verify the information he is being given????

  • Political Watcher
    November 24, 2012 - 10:06

    Saying there hasn't been an accident on a 1km stretch of a 1000km highway hardly justifies a success. He is only rejecting the fence option because someone else has recommended it, just like his refusal to publish restaurant inspections online (we all know what happened there). Why does the fence option work in all other Provinces and States where it is used but not here? Gone are the days Davis where all you had to do was get in front of a camera and repeat something that has already happened. I am guessing that is wis this lack of initiatives that kept him a Constable for 25+ years while all other have climbed through the ranks.