World leading brake light system wins award
A New Zealand-designed after-market emergency brake lighting system which indicates how hard a driver is braking has
been recognised in this year’s Road Safety Innovation Awards.
Auckland company Databrake International Limited will receive the Vehicle-Based Road Safety award for its Intelligent
Brake Light System at a Wellington ceremony tonight (22 February 2005) hosted by Transport Safety Minister Harry
Duynhoven. The system is also a joint winner of this year's Premier Award for best overall road safety innovation.
The intelligent brake lighting system uses a computer operated electronic device which monitors a vehicle's
deceleration. When critical braking thresholds are met the device automatically switches on the vehicle's hazard warning
lights - alerting other road users to the potential danger. The hazard lights flash faster and more intensely as the
level of braking increases. The device is little bigger than a matchbox, can be easily retrofitted to almost any vehicle
in about 20 minutes and the cost is similar to that of a car alarm.
The system was designed to help prevent nose-to-tail crashes, of which there are more than 1,400 resulting in injury or
death each year. It is estimated that over $30 million is spent on vehicle repairs and much more on health care costs as
a result of nose to tail accidents last year. More than 80 vehicles a day are damaged in nose to tail accidents.
While similar emergency brake lighting systems are available on a small number of luxury vehicles, this is the first
time the system has been marketed as an inexpensive after-market device.
Road Safety Innovation Awards' Chief Judge Dr Carolyn Coggan says the Databrake system is a simple but effective way of
alerting other motorists of a potential hazard.
“The device impressed the judges for several reasons. It can easily be fitted to nearly any vehicle for about the same
cost as a car alarm, it is independent of the braking system so the brakes are not compromised in any way and it is
claimed to be extremely reliable, lasting the life of the vehicle.”
Dr Coggan said she was delighted that a world-leading product featured in this years Road Safety Innovation Awards.