At the University of Ghent in Flanders (UGent), researchers have developed a wearable warning system to improve road safety. Vulnerable road users may wear a bracelet that is warning them when they are moving into a blind spot of trucks or other heavy road vehicles. Truck drivers are also benefitting from this system, because they get a warning signal as well when someone is in their blind spot.
Such a system could be extremely helpful in view of the severity of blind spot accidents. In Belgium for instance, on average 50 fatal blind spot accidents happen every year. What’s more, these accidents are usually extremley severe. Because they mainly occur between trucks and vulnerable road users. 20% of all reported blind spot accidents are fatal while 25% result in severe injuries (Veiligverkeer).
Jo Verhaevert, professor at the UGent engineering faculty, demonstrated the system with some students as they were walking around a truck. When the students entered a blind spot, both driver and students simultaneously got a warning signal, which made them aware of the (potential) dangerous situation.
Apart from safety, there is also the aspect of responsibility. For these types of accidents, the finger is usually pointed at the truck driver. The professor believes that his system may lead to a more shared responsibility. Road users will be more aware and therefore getting a better understanding of each other.
Here is further information on what to do to avoid blind spot accidents.