Thu, 10 Mar 2005


Emergency braking invention a lifesaver

WELLINGTON: A New Zealand company has invented an emergency brake lighting system designed to prevent nose-to-tail crashes that could save lives and millions of dollars in repair costs.

It uses a computer-operated electronic device that monitors a vehicle's deceleration and automatically switches on hazard warning lights when critical braking thresholds are reached.

The hazard warning lights flash faster and more intensely alerting other road users to potential danger as the level of braking increases.

The so-called Intelligent Brake Light System, designed by Databrake International Limited, of Auckland, is slightly bigger than a matchbox and can be easily retro-fitted to almost any vehicle in about 20 minutes.

The makers say the cost is similar to that of a car alarm. Land Transport New Zealand, which gave the device one of its annual road safety innovation awards, said more than 80 vehicles a day were damaged in nose-to-tail crashes throughout the country and more than 1,400 caused deaths or injuries every year.

It said that while similar emergency brake lighting systems were built in to a small number of luxury vehicles, it was the first inexpensive device which could be retro-fitted.

The judges said the device was independent of the braking system so did not compromise the brakes in any way and was claimed to be extremely reliable, lasting the life of the vehicle. --DPA