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Rear window LED offers ‘friendly’ advice to the driver behind – Recipe for road rage?

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The only communication device open to most drivers is the horn – or, in extreme cases, waving arms out the window and yelling.

But a new LED panel aims to change that – letting drivers send a message via Bluetooth from their mobile phone to a grid of LED lights on the back.

At present, the grid shows pre-programmed messages – but its designer says he has plans to use it to ‘Give feedback to drivers following me.’

Described as a ‘bad driver feedback display,’ the grid of LEDs is set 2cm apart across the rear windscreen of a Volkswagen Polo

What manner of chaos this might unleash on the world’s roads remains to be seen.

The pre-programmed messages include, ‘Driving slow!’ ‘Keep distance!’ and ‘Turn left!’

Early pictures and video of the device shows it offering tips from the rear window of designer Gagandeep Singh’s Volkswagen Polo.

The LEDs are hand-soldered into a grid, and spaced at 2cm intervals across the entire back windshield.

The 38 x 16 ‘resolution of the screen makes it ideal for short, two-word messages – words scroll across it from left to right, just like messages on motorway signs.

The LED screen was hand-soldered on a piece of waste wood. Its designer says that the spacing of the LEDs means its safe to use while driving as you can see straight through

Soldering together the grid took two days. The circuits that feed it messages were also programmed by hand.

The trickiest parts were ‘special characters’ such as helpful arrows pointing the direction that other drivers should steer.

The unit is controlled by a primitive AT89C51 microcontroller.

The LED grid scrolls through pre-programmed messages – its designer is now working on a Bluetooth receiver so it can be updated ‘live’ with ‘helpful messages’ for other drivers

Singh claims that the spacing of the tiny LEDs mean that the rear windscreen is fully transparent, so it’s safe to use behind the wheel.

Singh is now attempting to add a Bluetooth receiver, so drivers can update it via Bluetooth from a mobile phone.

Responsible road users would, of course, pull over to type in any advice, by which time the intended recipient might be miles ahead.

Read more: Daily Mail


Published under General, Road Safetysend this post
October 29th, 2011

Ireland new drink-driving limits come into effect at midnight on Friday the 27th October 2011

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LOWER DRINK-driving limits come into effect from midnight, reducing the maximum blood-alcohol level to 20mg per 100ml of blood in some cases.

The changes, which bring Irish law into line with European levels, will see the current limit of 80mg drop to 50mg for most drivers.

Under the regime, professional drivers, learner drivers and those who are newly qualified will be subject to a lower 20mg limit, as will other categories such as those driving tractors or cars with trailers.

A penalty system is also being introduced to deal with offences detected under the limits.

Previously all drink-driving offences were dealt with in the courts and an automatic disqualification applied to convictions.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar yesterday joined the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána to raise awareness of the limits, ahead of a Garda safety campaign for the bank holiday weekend.

Mr Varadkar said the measures sent out a very clear signal that drinking and driving “cannot be tolerated and will be prosecuted”.

The Minister said similar measures in Queensland, Australia, saw an 18 per cent reduction in fatal collisions and 14 per cent in serious-injury collisions.

“Sweden saw a reduction of 9.7 per cent in fatal crashes and an 11 per cent decrease in single-vehicle collisions.”

Mr Varadkar denied the system was more lenient than one in which those found to have been driving over the limit automatically ended up in court.

“It’s a system of graduated penalties. If somebody is between 50mg and 80mg, they will get penalty points. If they’re above 80mg, they will get banned from driving.

“So in many ways it’s actually stricter. I think it’s important that people don’t mistake this for being a soft touch – it’s not.”

He said the system delivered a “zero tolerance policy” on drink-driving for learner drivers and those who drove professionally.

The Minister said enforcement was the key and the Government fully understood that An Garda Síochána was under pressure and already over budget this year.

Garda Chief Supt Aidan Reid said the force was ready to enforce the drink-driving limits from the time they come into effect at midnight.

He said the changes would have a “significant impact” on all drivers.

Chief Supt Reid said the system of penalties took account of first-time offenders, but that overall the effect would involve a court appearance for anyone subsequently caught drink-driving.

He also reminded drivers that it was a legal requirement to carry a valid driving licence when driving. “If a driver cannot produce his or her driving licence when required to undergo a preliminary breath test, the lower limit of 20 mg will apply to that driver, until such time as the driver produces a valid driving licence.” Asked what the lower alcohol levels meant in terms of the quantity of alcohol a person could safely consume, he said the only advice was never to drink and drive.

AA director of policy Conor Faughnan welcomed the graduated penalty system and said 80 per cent of motorists surveyed by the organisation were in favour.


THE REDUCTION in the alcohol limit can be implemented following the enactment of the Road Traffic No 2 Act 2011. Fixed-charge penalties under the system will apply as follows: 

* For a blood-alcohol level of 50mg-80mg, the driver will be arrested, brought to a Garda station and required to provide breath or blood or urine specimens.

* In all cases where the level is between 50mg and 80mg and the driver is not a “specified” person (eg, a learner or a professional driver) and has not had a fixed penalty for drink-driving in the previous three years, a fine of €200 and three penalty points will apply.

* Points will remain on the driving licence record for a period of three years.

* Any driver accumulating 12 points in three years will be disqualified from driving for six months.

* For a blood-alcohol level of 80mg-100mg, the arrested driver will be required to provide breath, urine or blood samples after arrest. The applicable fine will be €400 and the person will be disqualified for six months.

* For a blood-alcohol level of 20mg-80mg, the arrested driver will be required to provide breath, urine or blood samples. The applicable fine (provided the person has not received a fixed penalty in the previous three years under the scheme) will be €200 and the person will be disqualified for three months.

* District Court penalties will apply where the blood-alcohol level is above 100mg or above 80mg for those classed as “specified” persons, where the person is not eligible to be served with a fixed penalty notice or where a fixed penalty has not been paid.

* A sliding scale also applies to convictions with a consequent driving ban of between six months and six years, depending on the blood-alcohol limit applying to the driver concerned.

* The maximum fine remains at €5,000 and/or six months’ imprisonment.

October 27th, 2011

RSA warns on driver fatigue ahead of August 2011 Bank Holiday weekend

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As the August Bank Holiday nears and thousands of people prepare to head off for the weekend, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are reminding drivers to be aware of the dangers of driving while tired.

The call comes as research suggests that driver fatigue could be a contributory factor in as many as one in five driver deaths in Ireland every year.
Furthermore, this risk is increased during a bank holiday weekend when there are more drivers on the roads, often travelling long journeys without a break.

Previous research conducted by the RSA into driver fatigue revealed that two in five drivers believed that rolling down the windows will combat tiredness while driving.
However, the RSA has reminded drivers that these tactics don’t work and that driving while tired can be more dangerous than drink driving.

Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said:

“We’ve heard many stories about how people stay awake behind the wheel of the car, including rolling down the windows, turning up the music and even trapping their hair in the sun roof.
Although these are certainly creative, they don’t work and will not stop you falling asleep if you’re a tired driver.
The only cure for driver fatigue is sleep so if you’re behind the wheel of the car, don’t risk your life, the lives of your passengers or other people on the road by fighting sleep at the wheel.
Pull in somewhere safe, drink a cup of coffee and take a 15 minute nap.
When you wake up, get out of the car, walk around and get some air.
This should allow you to drive for another hour.”

Published under Road Safetysend this post
July 30th, 2011

Judge admits to driving for three months without NCT

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A DISTRICT Court judge has admitted to driving for three months without having an NCT certificate.

But Judge Patrick Clyne said during a sitting of Edenderry District Court that he did not have the certificate for his car for those three months because he couldn’t get an appointment.

His comments were made as he struck out two charges against an Offaly man accused of not having an NCT and for driving without proving his vehicle was safe.

The judge said he understood “the vagaries of the system” and had himself driven for months with no NCT because he couldn’t get an appointment.

He had attempted on three occasions to arrange a test date but “nobody comes back to you”, he said.

Empathising with John Cullen, of Greenwood Park, Edenderry, who had no cert when he was stopped on November 20 last, the judge struck out the charges.

But the National Car Test Service said it could not understand how the judge was unable to get an appointment to have his car tested.

A spokeswoman said their call centre was “quite efficient” and usually answered calls within three or four seconds.

Admitting there were scheduling difficulties, she said that bookings were still being taken, with some tests scheduled into late August and September.

Some 70 staff were employed to deal with appointments and delays were because non-compliant drivers whose cert was out of date for a year or more were now looking for appointments, she said.

Gardai have said that once a driver has an NCT appointment receipt they will not be prosecuted.


This is not the first time a District Court judge has admitted to driving without a certificate. In 2008, Judge Terence Finn was “very embarrassed and very apologetic” after being fined €250 for driving his seven-year-old car without an NCT cert.

The judge was stopped during an operation aimed at cracking down on non-compliance and pleaded guilty to driving his car, a BMW saloon, without the certificate.

New laws introduced by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey last year impose a mandatory court appearance for not having an NCT, with five penalty points applied to a a licence. A fine of up to €1,500 can also be imposed.

Figures from the Courts Service show that 10,310 people appeared in court last year charged with driving a vehicle without an NCT certificate.

Points have been handed down in 621 cases, but only applied in 46 cases.

– Claire O’Brien

Irish Independent

Published under NCT, Road Safetysend this post
July 23rd, 2011

Roadside drug tests for drivers in Ireland

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DRIVERS will next month face stringent US-style roadside tests for drugs, the Irish Independent has learned.

Gardai will be able to check drivers’ eyes for dilated pupils and carry out other physical co-ordination tests.

The tests, commonplace in America, will also include ordering a driver to stand on one leg and walk in a straight line.

Motorists who pass the drink-driving breath test and appear intoxicated cannot currently be checked for drugs at the roadside. Now, if a motorist gets caught for driving under the influence of alcohol, they’d get checked for drugs. Now, the motorist can get caught for drugs, too, if they just had something that wouldn’t cause intoxication; say the iowaska tea containing the drug DMT. In such cases, the motorists are given some slack.

But the scourge of drug driving has become a serious threat to lawful road users and the crackdown is designed to make the roads safer. Other checks on steadiness will include having drivers open and shut their eyes to detect possible drug use.

Under the tough new law, a driver who refuses to submit to the roadside test can be fined €5,000 and jailed for six months.

With more than 700 drug-driving convictions a year, road safety experts and gardai believe the new laws will lead to a surge in convictions.

It means that ‘high’ drivers who think they can beat the system by not consuming alcohol will run a far higher risk of being arrested and brought to a garda station.

Professor Denis Cusack, head of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety which analyses suspect blood and urine samples, revealed gardai were being trained in drug impairment testing, including how to recognise people with genuine medical issues.

Officers are being shown how to develop drug-drive recognition techniques by the bureau.

Gardai who form an opinion that a driver is on drugs after failing the impairment test can then arrest the driver and bring them to the local garda station.

There they will have to submit to a blood or urine sample and will be prosecuted if the test is positive.

Outgoing Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said yesterday there was increasing evidence that more and more drivers were under the influence of drugs.

“A lot of young people who would not dream of driving under the influence of alcohol would smoke a joint (a cannabis cigarette) and drive,” he told the Irish Independent.

“This new roadside impairment drug test is a good interim step until we get a test similar to the breath test for alcohol. It will be another weapon in the arsenal of the gardai,” he added.

The roadside drug-test powers are contained in the Road Safety Act 2010 but cannot be rolled out until the training of gardai is completed.

It comes as research by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) among 1,000 people aged 17-34 reveals that one in five people (22pc) admit to being a passenger in a car driven by a person high on drugs.

The most common drugs involved include cannabis/marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy. Increasingly, drivers have taken a cocktail of different drugs.

Alarmingly, one in 20 drivers admitted to driving under the influence of so-called recreational drugs in the past.

The aim was to have the system rolled out during the year, targeting drivers under the influence of drugs.

Prof Cusack said that there would be a range of roadside tests and gardai would be trained to check for motorists with a range of medical conditions, such as stroke and arthritis.

“This test is in line with that used internationally, in the absence of a single roadside device to check for drugs.”

Prof Cusack said that while cannabis was the most widely used drug by drug drivers, cocaine use was on the increase. People who use cannabis which is available from CBD Shop for medical purposes are also no encouraged to drive while they are medicated as it can be a great risk.


The new system means that a garda carrying out roadside checkpoints or stopping drivers for erratic behaviour will be in a position to “form an opinion” that motorists are under the influence of drugs, after ruling out alcohol.

This is similar to the old powers under which gardai tested drink drivers before they were able to carry out random breath tests.

There were 700 drug-driving prosecutions last year but this is expected to increase dramatically when the roadside impairment test is introduced.

Driving under the influence of drugs is regarded by road safety chiefs as being just as dangerous as drink driving.

Noel Brett, RSA chief executive, welcomed the new drug test and said it would greatly help to reduce the scourge of drug driving.

– Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

Irish Independent

Published under Road Safetysend this post
December 30th, 2010

Launch of Safety Camera In Ireland

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Garda mobile safety cameras

Safety cameras save lives.

From midnight on Monday 15th November 2010, new Garda mobile safety cameras will be in use across Irish roads.

Slow down. Save a life. It could be yours.

It could be someone in your family, your next-door neighbour, a work colleague or someone you’ve never met. Let’s all work together and reduce the number of deaths on our roads.

Excessive or inappropriate speeding is a major factor in road traffic collisions. Safety cameras will be on the roads all across Ireland where fatal collisions are happening as a result of inappropriate speed.

The locations of these roads are available by clicking on the map.

Further information on the safety cameras and a list of frequently asked questions is available by clicking on the links to the right-hand side.

On a phased basis, GoSafe will provide 6,000 enforcement hours and 1,475 survey hours per month across the country. For the 6,000 enforcement hours, the cameras will operate from vans which will be marked with high visibility reflective material and will display a safety camera symbol. Images of the vans are available on the right hand side of this page.

The survey hours will be conducted from unmarked vans, in order to accurately observe and record the speeds at which vehicles are currently travelling, for survey purposes only.

afety camera zones

Speed kills. Kill the speed.

Excessive or inappropriate speed is a significant contributory factor in road traffic collisions.

Gardaí use a range of speed detection technology to reduce speed across Irish roads. A reduction in speed will lead to a reduction in the incidence of fatal and serious injuries and will improve road safety for all road-users.

We are working closely with a range of partner agencies, including Government Departments, the Road Safety Authority, the National Roads Authority, and the community, in order to develop a national culture of safe road use.

An extensive analysis of collisions on the road network where speed was a contributory factor has been completed.

The following sections of road, as set out on the map, were identified as having a significant proportion of collisions whereby, in the opinion of the investigating Garda, a safe speed was exceeded.

Ongoing surveys will be conducted to ensure that these sections of roads continue to represent locations where speeding is happening. The map will be updated accordingly.

These sections of the road network will be where An Garda Síochána will be primarily focussing our enforcement. We will use a range of equipment such as:

•    Handheld and tripod mounted laser guns;
•    Vehicle mounted Puma speed detection equipment, (both marked and unmarked vehicles);
•    Van mounted automatic speed detection radars (Garda operated);
•    Van mounted Go-Safe vans (civilian operated).

An Garda Síochána appeals to all road users, in particular motorists, to familiarise themselves with these sections of the road network.

We also appeal to motorists to always drive at an appropriate speed, to reduce the likelihood of being involved in a fatal or serious collision.

Link to Speed Collision Zones Map

November 25th, 2010

Ireland to reduce drink-drive limit

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The new lower drink-driving limit was passed in the Dáil last night.

Provision for a new acceptable blood alcohol limit of 50mg, replacing the current 80mg, is contained in the Road Traffic Bill.

The Bill passed through the Dáil last night but was not actually voted on as agreement on its contents was reached on all sides.

The Bill now moves to the Seanad where it is due to be dealt with next week.

The limit for learner and professional drivers has been cut from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 20mg and from 80mg to 50mg for other drivers.

Drivers caught over the limit would receive three penalty points and a €200 fine, if they do not challenge the conviction in court, but they would not receive a driving ban.

June 24th, 2010