more top stories »

Road Safety

— Automotive

New Garmin sat nav app aims to cut down rail crossing incidents in the UK

The UK's Highway Code advises the use of care when approaching a level crossing and to only drive onto a crossing if the exit is clear on the other side. After all, finding yourself blocked on the track when a train is coming is probably not a great position to be in (unless you can depend on Hancock to stop the train before it hits). While such things may seem like common sense, that doesn't appear to prevent drivers from taking stupid risks. Now Network Rail and Garmin have teamed up to create a special sat nav app which will sound a train-like whistle when a driver approaches a level crossing. Read More
— Bicycles

Student-designed bicycle device designed to save lives

Many people are afraid of riding their bicycles on busy roads full of motorized vehicles, and it's easy to understand why. Not only are bikes slower and offer less protection than cars, but they can also be more difficult for drivers to notice. A device invented by a British design student, however, could help level the playing field a little. It's called BLAZE, and it alerts drivers to the presence of a cyclist by projecting a laser image onto the road in front of the bicycle. Read More
— Automotive

Follow the leader: SARTRE road train technology successfully demonstrated

Reading the morning paper while behind the wheel of your car might sound like surefire recipe for disaster, but in the not-too-distant future it might just become a safer and more economical option than actually doing the driving yourself. That's the theory behind SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project – a synthesis of personal and public transport that will allow cars to be daisy-chained and automatically controlled by a lead vehicle in a process dubbed "platooning." The project has now made the leap from simulator to real roads in the first successful demonstration of the technology at the Volvo Proving Ground near Gothenburg, Sweden. Read More
— Urban Transport

Mobile automated system detects traffic violations

In July of 2008, the European Union launched ASSETT (Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport), a program aimed at reducing accidents caused by traffic rule violations. It involves a consortium of 19 partner organizations in 12 countries, but it boils down to one thing thing for European drivers – the police will be handing out more tickets. In order to cover a larger number of vehicles, while making things easier for officers and more fair for motorists, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland is currently testing a mobile system that monitors traffic and notes when infractions occur. Read More
— Motorcycles

Reevu rear-vision motorcycle helmet goes into production

We first covered the Reevu helmet, with its built-in rear view mirror for motorcyclists, back in 2005. It's an excellent idea - a rider's vision and situational awareness are huge components of road safety. The more you know about what's happening around and behind you, the more options you've got in an emergency or a simple lane change situation. Well, it's been a long road to the market, but Reevu has finally announced that its RV MSX1 helmet has passed European standards testing, and is now available for distribution. It should be homologated for use worldwide in the near future, and if the final price is right, we're sure these guys are onto a real winner. Read More
— Automotive

GM previews enhanced windshield vision system

Wouldn't it be great if driving in thick fog, pounding rain or blizzard snow wasn't a visibility nightmare and road markings or important signage remained clear whatever the conditions. General Motors may be on the verge of striking automotive safety gold if the augmented vision display system its R&D team recently demonstrated finds its way to commercial development. Read More
— Automotive

Older drivers - Safe or unsafe?

The world's population is aging rapidly, with implications in numerous areas, not the least of which is that the number of male drivers over the age of 70 will double in the next 20 years, and the number of female drivers over 70 will treble. Does this pose a greater risk on the roads? A new in-depth report released today by the UK's IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists contradicts the common assumption that older drivers are a danger on the roads, comprehensively proving that drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other driver, and are indeed, considerably safer than younger drivers. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Textecution app stops kids from texting while they drive

Motor vehicle accidents are the single highest cause of death for young people - and the dangerous practice of texting while driving is on the rise among teens and young adults. Textecution is an Android app that parents can install on their kids' phones. It's designed to shut down all texting functions - sending and receiving - if the phone handset is moving at more than 10mph. It's a flawed solution, but a first step towards combatting a very serious issue that's only going to become worse as smartphones proliferate. Read More
— Urban Transport Feature

Driving the Spira 3-wheel prototype

The Spira three-wheeler is a unique vehicle. It's one of the finalists in the Automotive X-Prize but its frugal fuel consumption and low emissions are only part of the vision of making it a car for the people. The Spira starts with a scooter, uses everything but the frame, and all those parts bolt into a foam composite tub to create a lightweight (137 kg) three-wheeled two-seater with immeasurably greater crash protection for the occupants. Gizmag visited the Spira's home in Thailand to drive what inventor Lon Ballard hopes will become a machine for the people, and came away mightily impressed. Read More