Missouri Wants to Use Military-Grade Sound Cannons to Slow Drivers Down

The LRAD sound cannon has been used to subdue protests, deter pirates and, now, slow down speeding drivers.

Construction Francis Dean/Corbis

The LRAD sound cannon has been used to disperse protests, deter pirates and scare birds away from airplanes. In Missouri, it’s getting another use: traffic control. In an effort to prevent drivers from speeding through work zones, the cannon will be mounted on the back of a truck and will target drivers speeding towards construction vehicles.

From The Verge

LRAD's sirens can reach up to 153 decibels, more than enough to potentially cause hearing damage. This is technology that's been deployed in war zones, after all. Missouri's DOT reportedly insists the tool will only being used at safe levels, but it's easy to see how motorists could become disoriented and wind up in an accident. The element of surprise is an unwelcome one on the road, and that has many drivers crying foul about Missouri's plans.

Dangers to construction workers and motorists in construction zones remain real. In 2012, 609 people died in crashes in work zones. That’s down from a high of 1,095 in 2003, as more states have pushed for increased fines and public awareness about the dangers of speeding in work zones. 

Not all states are taking Missouri’s extreme approach. Last month, South Carolina introduced a bill to increase the fine for speeding in a work zone to $400, a penalty that could be increased to $1,000 or 30 days in jail if an injury results from speeding. 

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