Don't Worry, MODOT Won't Use Military-Style Sound Cannons To Slow You Down

Categories: News

lrad_sound_cannon.JPG
MODOT/Youtube
Ahhh, the soothing sounds of loud and incessant beeping noises.
Last week, it was reported that MODOT was about to deploy LRAD (long-range acoustic device) sound cannons to get drivers to slow down near work sites. Unsurprisingly, many people were doubtful that emitting a loud and annoying sound was the best way to encourage people to let off the gas, and MODOT's Facebook page was filled with comments saying as much (those comments have since been deleted).

But Missourian outrage doesn't matter anymore because MODOT says the sound cannons won't be used after all. An employee with MODOT's communications department says budget cuts are the reason, and the $25,000 sound cannons are one of many things the agency will have to sacrifice this year.

Judging by the public response, however, the sound cannons won't be missed. Here's a video of MODOT testing the LRAD device. If anything, it seems like people would be tempted to step on the gas just to get that sound out of their heads:

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A statement on MODOT Kansas City's Facebook page explains the reasoning behind the plan before the decision to cut back:

"Units will follow two of our striping operations. They'll broadcast a constant message to drivers behind the striper trucks that slow-moving vehicles are ahead. This will be done at an OSHA- safe sound level. The sound is focused to reach oncoming traffic as the trucks move down the highway. Why are we doing this? We want your attention near our slow-moving operations so you can take proper action and avoid crashing into our big trucks. Your safety is at stake."

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One reason for the public outrage is that several news sites, including the conspiracy-theory-leaning InfoWars.com noted that the sound cannons are used by the U.S. military to subdue militants in Afghanistan as well as by police to break up protests in the U.S.

Though the volume level is much higher for those uses, it didn't exactly give the impression of comfort and safety once people heard about the LRAD sound cannons.

Here's a video of people slowly and calmly leaving an area with the assistance of an LRAD sound cannon during the 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh:

MODOT wasn't planning to pump up the volume to anti-protest levels; the volume was planned to range between 61 and 70 decibels. That level is somewhere between conversation levels and a vacuum cleaner, according to this chart.

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Although emitting a loud and irksome sound seems counterintuitive to encouraging people to slow down, accidents in work zones happen often enough to have killed more than 200 people in Missouri since 2003 -- and the vast majority of them have been drivers.

The Center for Disease Control keeps statistics of work-zone accidents. Between 2003 and 2012 (the last year for these records), 206 people died in traffic work zones. Of these, 14 were workers.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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16 comments
Couch Pig
Couch Pig

They will use them to do door to door gun collection

Phil Janovick
Phil Janovick

What idiot thought that'd be a good idea to begin with......... LMAO !!!! People's STEREOs blaring, may not heard it, ever pulled up nextto some thug with cRAPP music rattling your vehicle ???? Just making a point &&&&& that surely woulda caused even more accidents......

jbradhicks
jbradhicks

Given how many MODOT employees have been murdered by motorists on cell phones, if the LRAD is an unacceptable option, then maybe we should equip the trucks with uniformed paramilitaries who fire a warning shot when somebody is threatening to run over MODOT workers, and if that doesn't cause them to put down their cell phone and back off, then shoot to kill.

I'm only kidding. Well, mostly kidding.

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

So the police state has just been delayed, not derailed. Local police have no business using military grade weapons. Period!

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

It's all this military surplus crap being sold to state agencies

Tyrone
Tyrone

STL PD could use one on the streets of Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood

"Crackheads go inside, Crackheads go inside,Crackheads go inside"

LarryTheVomitor
LarryTheVomitor

I want one.

"Hey you kids...get the fuck off my lawn"

 "Hey you kids...get the fuck off my lawn"

       "Hey you kids...get the fuck off my lawn"

Zac Miller
Zac Miller

I'm sure that MoDot wasn't going to loan these out.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

So make sure not to raise taxes for modot budget unless you want an earful

Matt Fischer
Matt Fischer

Or driver would employ expensive counter measures like .99 cent ear plugs... Dumbasses...

Peter Malench
Peter Malench

bad idea to start with. someone would get startled and jerk the steering wheel causing mayhem.

Mike Igleheart
Mike Igleheart

Nothing is safer for a MODOT worker than scaring the s*** out of a speeding, out-of-control motorist in a construction zone.

Lin Staum
Lin Staum

Can they use them to stop SPIDERS?

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@stlouisx50 quit being a fuckstick douche!

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