Saving lives of road workers: new system allows cars to brake automatically

Accidents involving road workers still occur regularly. A system that can prevent these types of accidents was demonstrated in Den Bosch on Wednesday. It warns motorists of red crosses, arrow cars and it can also brake a car automatically. “This can save lives,” says Bart Smolders, director of construction company Heijmans Infra from Rosmalen.

The idea is simple. A box on the arrow car sends a signal that is received by cars. This way your car knows where the barrier is and you will receive a warning if you ignore red crosses above the road. If a collision is truly unavoidable, the car will automatically apply the brakes. This should make it impossible to collide with road workers.

The basis for the new technology is already in some new cars. They already make an emergency stop for cyclists or obstacles. “The novelty of this technology is that an intervention is initiated by a signal from outside.” So the barrier ‘talks’ to your car.

“I’m worried about my colleagues. Working on the road is becoming increasingly unsafe. They are there to keep Brabant accessible,” continues Smolders, who hears his colleagues complaining on the hard shoulder.

Road workers feel unsafe
Two weeks ago something went wrong. A truck collided with a road workers’ car on the A58 near Moergestel. A road worker was injured. “That was a real shock for the sector,” says Smolders. The Bouwend Nederland trade association then sounded the alarm at Omroep Brabant.

It happens almost every month and people are often injured, said safety specialist Ronald van der Sanden of Bouwend Nederland. “We ensure safety, but at the same time we are in danger. Something really has to be done,” he said at the time.

Thousands of fines
Bart Smolders of Heijmans Infra also has fifty colleagues who are on a hard shoulder somewhere every day. They are now widening a fourteen kilometer stretch of road between Apeldoorn and Twello in Gelderland. “Every day, an average of a thousand fines are issued to speeders,” he emphasizes. “That’s unprecedented.” And yet the technical solutions to prevent accidents have been lying unused on the shelf for years.

The new technology was shown on Wednesday at the Smart Infra Experience conference in Den Bosch. However, something still needs to be done before it can be applied. This mainly concerns laws and regulations and security. He calls on the government to work on this together with companies as quickly as possible.

Two weeks ago, road workers sounded the alarm at Omroep Brabant: