So you’re wondering what that flashing number machine parked beside Thériault Boulevard right now is called. Timmins Police communications coordinator Marc Depatie has the answer.

“It’s a speed measuring warning device, and it alerts the public to the fact that they may in fact be speeding.”

The device is moved around, based on social media comments or direct complaints to the police about speeding in a particular area.  Depatie says it’s not a camera, but it does collect some information.

“It can confirm that there are a significant number of speeders in a given area and enforcement action should follow in that area,” he says.

The speed limit on Thériault is 40 kilometres an hour, because of all the schools surrounding it. They add an element of driver distraction: kids.

Depatie acknowledges that on that stretch of road — especially in the nicer weather — it’s easy for the speedometer needle to creep past 40.  But he notes that speed limits are set according to the results of traffic studies.

“They’re not arbitrarily decided upon,” he states. “There’s a number of factors that come into play when we determine a speed limit in a given area.”