COUNCIL bosses say 45 communities across the county are now experiencing lower traffic speeds since installation of specialised electronic signs.

Dorset Council's Speed Indicator Device (SID) programme involves signs displaying the speeds of oncoming vehicles.

The idea is to raise drivers' awareness of local speed limits and make roads safer.

A SID recently deployed on the A352 Wareham Road in Wool, at a 30mph section, saw most drivers reducing their speeds, council officials say.

Before the SID was in place an average of 569 vehicles were travelling over 35mph daily, but during the SID deployment –between 7am and 7pm – this dropped to 142 vehicles.

Likewise, figures show that on average 160 vehicles were travelling faster than 40mph on the same section each day.

Post SID deployment, this figure dropped to 31.

Cllr Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, Dorset Council, said: “By working together with parish and town councils, this community-based initiative has expanded and become more responsive to local needs.

“These displays have a measurable impact on reducing traffic speeds, something many communities are concerned about, and they contribute towards changing driver behaviour through our towns and villages.

“My thanks to all the communities who have worked hard on schemes in their area – you’ve made a real difference and helped make our roads safer.”

Dorset Highways oversees the setting up of new sites, providing risk assessments and training, with parish and town councils funding their local programme, owning the devices and responsible for deploying them.

A Wool Parish Council spokesman said: "We purchased a SID in an attempt to discourage speeding at four hotspots in the parish. It was so successful that we bought a second SID very soon after.

"Once the SID is activated, you can see the effect on the traffic in a matter of seconds.

"When used in a suitable location, SIDs are a very effective way to deter drivers from speeding."