Citizens and visitors to the city of Daye in China's Hubei province have a new incentive to pay attention to traffic signals: if they don't, they can get sprayed with water.
Law enforcement officers in Daye recently installed five bright yellow posts at one of the city's busiest intersections. The new installments come fully equipped with a number of methods meant to deter walkers from committing the unforgivable crime of jaywalking.
China Daily reports the pylons feature a speaker system that informs pedestrians when it's ok to cross the street, telling them, "The light is now green. Please cross the road quickly and mind your safety." Another message tells walkers not to take off too early. "Please don't go through," the automated recording says. "You will be sprayed with water."
How do you stop people crossing on red lights?
Traffic police in one Hubei city think spraying jaywalkers with water is the best deterrent. pic.twitter.com/ceJHoXONcQ
— Sixth Tone (@SixthTone) April 19, 2018
For those who opt not to heed the warning, the posts make good on the threat. Motion sensors detect the person attempting to cross the street before the light changes and blasts them with a mist of water.
The structures also contain a laser system that displays a red light when crossing is prohibited and a green light when pedestrians are in the clear. The lasers have already undergone some slight adjustments so as to not accidentally blind children crossing the street. "To avoid the laser hurting children's eyes, we reduced the height from 1.2 meters to 0.8 meters," Wan Xinqiang, deputy head of publicity for the Daye public security bureau, told China Daily.
If getting your pants wet or a laser in your eye isn't enough of a deterrent, the pedestrian monitors also come equipped with facial recognition technology that can be used to identify jaywalkers. Photos of people who choose to cross the street out of turn are uploaded to a police database and used to determine their identities. Police are reportedly mulling the possibility of making the names of jaywalkers public once they have been identified. The photos are also instantly displayed on a massive screen across from the intersection to shame the petty criminals.
The system, which was installed as part of a partnership program with a local technology firm, cost just over $US200,000 ($260,551), according to China Daily. The city is considering the effort a success so far, as it reports there have been fewer people crossing during red lights since the pylons went up. It intends to utilise the technology throughout the city.
This is not the first instance of Chinese law enforcement taking aim at jaywalkers. The South China Morning Post reported earlier this year that the city of Shenzhen started utilising the "name and shame" method of placing photos of jaywalkers on large displays, as well as sending fines to the offenders via text message.