Motor vehicle and pedal cycle conspicuity: part 1- vehicle mounted warning beacons. Summary report.
Accident studies suggest that the early detection and identification of other types of road users is likely to be a safety benefit to drivers, and one means for achieving this is through the use of vehicle-mounted warning beacons. A review of previous research, current technology, standards and regulations, and the views of relevant parties confirms the contribution of warning beacons in this respect. It also indicates that the warning beacons available in the market are largely governed by the restrictions imposed by the relevant regulations. However contact with various warning beacon user groups suggests that these designs are not as effective as they would wish and may in certain instances be giving rise to disbenefits to other road users. A rigorous scientific test programme identified those factors which make warning beacons more conspicuous and specific consideration was given to those vehicles, fitted with amber warning beacons, which work within environments of flashing amber road beacons. Disbenefits of warning beacon design, in terms of disability glare, discomfort glare, distraction and eleptogenesis, were also investigated. It is recommended that the users of warning beacons be prioritised with the highest priority group being allocated the top values of those features which make warning beacons conspicuous (subject to consideration of the disbenefits likely to be generated). Road trials should be undertaken to further refine the recommendations.
Department for Transport