According to Eurostat, 49 pedestrians died in Slovakia in 2020 as a result of road fatalities, and around 200 more were injured. The issue of road safety is vital, which is what prompted the testing of a possible new light that signalizes car braking. The testing phase, which is open to the public, is currently taking place in western Slovakia in the Trenčín region under the auspices of supporters from different levels of research and governance.
How does it work
The rectangular light is attached to the front of the car in between the two lights. It is connected to the car’s cabin with a cable attached to the socket intended for electronic smoking next to the driver. The light mimics the light signal of the back break lights whenever they are engaged. It contains a green LED inside, which shines when the signal is detected. Unlike the other three brake lights, this one can be turned off from the inside.
Problems to solve and the potential
Much good is expected to come out from the front brake light. If used on a large scale, it is expected to help reduce casualties and increase the smoothness of driving. One of the most important changes will be seen in the increase in pedestrians’ safety, as they will be able to see in advance whether the car is slowing down or not. At crossroads, it will become easier for other drivers to determine whether a car is really giving way. The same goes for the left-turn maneuvers, where you can never be really sure whether it is safe to turn without causing a collision.
The light is currently in its testing phase, which started in November, and is scheduled for a year. Several cities in the region, including the two biggest ones Trenčín and Prievidza, have supported the idea and on their 400 busses. The light is expected to be temporarily installed in over 3000 vehicles in total, allowing those interested to have the device installed and tested free of charge. Those who make use of it will then fill out surveys, which the Technical University in Žilina will analyze.
The physical product is provided by a private company called Lumaco, which offers construction, projection, and robot programming services. The company has headquarters in the city of Čadca in north Slovakia. Once the product is tested and data collected, the report will go to the European Parliament, as confirmed by MEP Ivan Štefanec, who supports the initiative.
The new front light is not taken out of the blue. Back in 1974 the Bricklin SV-1 car model contained a front light that spanned all over the front hood. Other ideas to improve road safety include increasing the fees for fast driving, decreasing speed in certain zones, creating airbags for pedestrians, and making the front hoods looser in case of an event when an accident might happen. However, it is the front light that has the potential to be introduced as another obligatory tool of car equipment. It remains to be seen what the data reveals and into what policies it will eventually translate.