When You Truly, Absolutely Need Stop Sign Compliance
Here’s an extreme case of where stop sign compliance is really a life or death situation: U.S. military checkpoints in Iraq and Afghanistan. A fascinating brief in the New Scientist notes that:
When a vehicle approaches a checkpoint at speed, ignoring warning signs to slow down, troops do not know whether the driver is simply careless or a suicide bomber. They need a clear and harmless way of forcing drivers to stop.
Green laser “dazzlers” were created for this purpose, the magazine notes, “but at short range they can damage the eye, and a number of US troops and civilians have ended up in hospital with eye injuries after ‘friendly fire’ incidents.”
But a more benign solution is in the works:
Now the US Department of Defense’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) in Quantico, Virginia is developing a pulsed laser designed to prevent eye damage. Its wavelength means a portion of the light is absorbed by the vehicle windscreen, vaporising the outer layer of the glass and producing a plasma. This absorbs the rest of the pulse and re-emits the energy as a brilliant white light that is dazzling but harmless. Because the light is emitted from the windscreen, the effect on the driver’s eyes should be the same regardless of the vehicle’s distance from the laser.
I don’t suppose this sort of thing would fly on civilian roads; but, for example, as a can’t-miss traffic light, or a way for police to disable drivers in pursuits, or a form of extreme neighborhood traffic calming…
This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 6:06 am and is filed under Traffic Engineering, Traffic Gadgets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.