Safe Lites Introduces a New, Improved Slow Moving Vehicle Sign
January 9th, 2005

Allowing the Existing SMV Emblem To Be Illuminated Could Save Lives and Eliminate the Confusion Between Conflicting Standards.

Charlotte, NC – Sunday, January 9, 2005 … A new effort was announced today at the 86th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention and Meeting in Charlotte,NC: help gain national support for the “allowance” of an improved SMV sign to better protect slow moving vehicles while avoiding the confusion between a slow moving vehicle in the roadway and a stalled vehicle beside the roadway at night.

Behind this initiative is Safe Lites, LLC, an Eden Prairie, MN business that since 2001 has helped increase the visibility and conspicuousness of people and vehicles on roadways. “While working with the Minnesota State Patrol, we learned that few accidents are more consistently catastrophic than those involving a slow moving piece of farm equipment involved in a rear-end collision,” stated Mr. John T. Golle, Safe Lites’ Chairman & CEO. “Often the problem is that these pieces of equipment are not well lit, are large and slow in nature, and are increasingly sharing the roadway with urbanites moving further into outlining, rural areas. Couple all of this with the tendency for motorists to over-drive their headlights and you have a dangerous situation.”

But simply being seen at night isn’t the only problem. Even if a Slow Moving Vehicle emblem reflects a motorist’s headlights, which can be difficult during inclement conditions, another problem presents itself. The current standard requires that only the red reflective triangle outlining the solid orange triangle be visible at night to indicate a slow moving vehicle is in the roadway. Ironically, this red reflective triangle is the exact same image/triangle required for stalled vehicles beside the roadway (FMVSS No. 125).

All of this leads to confusion which could impact a driver’s reaction time while they try to determine whether the vehicle is moving slowly in the road or stalled beside the roadway. Studies indicate that reaction time to what are called “simple” versus “complex” perceptions increases dramatically from as little as 3/4th of a second to as much as 2-4 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, the closing distance can become less than needed while a driver decides which course of action to take.

Safe Lites has developed a totally new SMV sign that appears exactly as the existing emblem during the day – but is illuminated at night using an electroluminescent (EL) lamp and technology developed at Safe Lites called GlowSkin™. This paper thin “lamp” is placed behind the existing materials giving it the same image during the day while allowing it to be illuminated at night. Existing users at airports say pilots report being able to see the new BrightZone™ SMV signs on equipment from two miles out!

The effect of illumination provides two primary benefits: 1) it increases the effectiveness of the sign by ensuring that it can be seen from greater distances, at all angles, and during all weather conditions; and, 2) it eliminates any confusion by creating a uniform appearance for the sign during the day and night.

“We’re confident that by illuminating the existing SMV emblem, we will save lives and better protect property by decreasing the frequency and severity of accidents involving slow moving vehicles. However, we cannot do this alone. We need help from others,” concluded Golle in his request for partners of all types – users, motorists, and regulators.

Press Release – Safe Lites Introduces a New, Improved SMV Sign

 

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