By Gabriel Gledhill
Capital West News
SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Lee B. Perry, R-Perry, is sponsoring a bill that would authorize the use of pulsing brake lights on the rear of vehicles.
The bill is intended to help prevent rear-end collisions of motor vehicles, by providing a more effective brake alert for drivers. The bill passed the House 67-8 and is awaiting consideration by the Utah State Senate.
HB302 would allow for a third brake light, located in the center of a car’s rear window, to pulse. This light, typically already installed in cars, can simply be modified.
Typically, when drivers see other cars tailing close behind, it is common for those drivers to tap their brakes, alerting other drivers that they are too close, said Perry.
The installment of a third, pulsing light, would have a similar affect. When a driver pushes the brake, the third light will pulse for three seconds. If the driver pushes the brake again or holds the brake down, the third light will remain solid to eliminate the possibility of other drivers mistaking the automobile for an emergency or law enforcement vehicle.
According to Safety F1rst Brake Light, one of the manufacturers of the pulsing light, a driver following too closing may experience a 40 percent improvement in reaction time when a modulating third break light is used. Department of Transportation studies show that 69 percent of distracted drivers are more likely to notice a flashing light than a solid light.
Similar bills that allow a third pulsing light have already been passed in roughly a dozen states including California and Colorado.
In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study revealing that a rear end collision happens every eight seconds in the United States. Ninety percent of these collisions could have been avoided if the driver had just one more second or warning. The third flashing light is designed to give drivers that extra second of warning.
“Its (the modulated third light) been saving people a lot of heartache and financial difficulty as well,” said Bill Brimley, sales manager of Safety F1rst Brake Light.
Although the patent for the modulated brake light has been in place for several years, the product is fairly new. It has only been on the market for roughly two years.