Over the last 100+ years, automobile safety has set some major milestones.1 Even before Ford’s Model T in 1908, we were already improving safety for the world’s most dangerous sport: driving—one that nearly everyone plays. Some of these inventions we easily take for granted, but the path to safety standardization has been a long and interesting one.
In 1903, a cattle rancher from Alabama named Mary Anderson realized that driving in inclement weather was drastically decreasing visibility—she became the inventor of the windshield wiper. When vehicles began filling streets in 1914, the need for drivers to communicate directions to each other was becoming overwhelming. So, a silent film actress named Florence Lawrence set out and designed the first “auto signaling arm”—the beginnings of what we now call the “turn signal.”
With vehicle speeds increasing, a better way to stop was invented by Malcolm Loughead (later known as Lockheed): the 4-wheel hydraulic brake system.2 This was a far cry from the mechanical drum brakes and wooden blocks of the past.
As motor vehicles became affordable to more people, their popularity exploded—the need to collect crash statistics and information was more pressing than ever—the dangers of driving needed to be studied and changes had to be made. Along with a series of other improvements, General Motors began testing rollovers and barrier crash tests in 1934.3 This was the beginning of, our now, very serious vehicle safety testing.
As we jump ahead to 1959, a Volvo engineer named Nils Bohlin invented the first-ever 3-point seat belt—a design that would prove to be one of the most important safety devices ever installed in a vehicle.
The next big jump in safety came in 1973 when the Ford Motor Company put passenger-side airbags in their Oldsmobile Toronado—the first commercially-available vehicle with airbags. Two years later, they would also add airbags to the driver’s side of select model vehicles.4
We’ve now come so far as to have automatic brakes, crash sensors, emergency warning systems, back-up cameras, 360° camera views showing us everything around our vehicles, assisted driving, self-driving vehicles and more.
With all of this, you’d think accidents and deaths would be declining and that driving would be safer than ever. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are roughly 2.5 MM motor vehicle accidents each year in the US alone—of those, 1.6 MM involve a cell phone. That means 64% of all accidents are related to some form of distracted driving.5
The most common accident is the rear-end collision, with a whopping 29% (nearly ⅓) of all accidents on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 87% of those rear-end collisions were caused by distracted driving—people not paying attention to the road and others on it.6
That’s a lot of statistics to be throwing around, so here’s the bottom line: the best brakes in the world won’t stop a collision the driver doesn’t see coming. Airbags keep you safe after the damage has already been done. Alerts and warning going off inside a vehicle are often too late to avoid accidents altogether. So, what can be done? How do we alert drivers to potential danger on the road while allotting enough time for them to avoid accidents?
Enter Intellistop: a life-saving module that causes tractor trailer brake and marker lights to rapidly pulse 4 times and then go solid. This simple safety device can give trailing drivers up to an extra second of reaction time—a duration NHTSA has deemed integral to avoiding up to 90% of rear-end collisions.7
Since 2013, owner and founder of Intellistop and the sister company Brake Plus NWA, Michelle Hanby has been pushing to incorporate this effective device into vehicles across the world. Recently, the transportation industry has caught wind of this powerful style of safety device, and new regulations may help get the modules onto trailers during manufacturing.
This push for allowing pulsing brake lights has a number of organizations independently moving towards a common goal. It includes the American Trucking Association (ATA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC), and NHTSA. These large and well-respected organizations are seeing the value of a pulsing brake light, like Intellistop, and how it can keep their truckers, trailers, and cargo safe.
A 30-month (2.5 year) study of 632 tanker trucks showed a 33.7% drop in rear-end collisions when equipped with a pulsing amber brake light.8 It also showed a 100% decrease in railroad crossing rear-end accidents. With incredible statistics like these, it’s imperative we get the red pulsing power of Intellistop. The sooner we do it, the sooner we can help keep the roads safer for everyone.
- History of Car Safety https://blog.nationwide.com/car-safety-timeline-infographic/
- History of Brakes https://didyouknowcars.com/the-history-of-brakes/
- GM Innovations https://tinyurl.com/y9en62es
- The History of Airbags https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-airbags-1991232
- Distracted Driving Stats https://distracteddriveraccidents.com/25-shocking-distracted-driving-statistics/
- NHTSA Analysis https://tinyurl.com/ycnyv2rw
- NHTSA Reaction Time Assessment https://tinyurl.com/yd99vgxz
- Groendyke Transport study: https://www.ccjdigital.com/fmcsa-taker-brake-light-exemption/