8 April 2009

Amparo SeeMe

New Swedish warning system saves lives

8 April 2009 - A new warning system developed in Sweden has the potential to save lives of British schoolchildren, say its makers. The system links an automatic radio 'tag', attached to a child's school bag to trigger solar-powered warning lights on bus stops or at crossings, to warn drivers that schoolchildren are in the vicinity.

The Amparo SeeMe system is now in use across Sweden, including areas north of the Arctic Circle, but in particular it has been evaluated for the past two years at three locations in Southern Sweden; near Eslöv, Gothenberg and Uppsala. They are each in areas which are at around the same latitude as northern England and thus have similar weather and seasonal lighting conditions.

Evaluations carried out by the Swedish National Road Administration show that SeeMe, when active, reduces the speed of passing vehicles by on average 13km/h. This speed reduction can mean the difference between life and death.

"SeeMe is an efficient measure for increased safety at bus stops, a tested and verified solution in use all over Sweden today", says Leon Nilsson, the COO of Amparo Solutions. "Keeping it simple means a cost-efficient solution with low maintenance. It is also easily adaptable to changing needs, for example if the bus stop needs to be moved, no investment in infrastructure such as electrical supply is needed"

The first trials of the new SeeMe warning system in the UK are already taking place in Aberdeenshire, where sadly two young lives were lost last year, after being struck by cars when they stepped off school buses. While SeeMe is fully CE-certified and adheres to EN12352; Amparo is currently seeking business partners across Europe to help it gain local homologation from organisations such as the Department for Transport in the UK.

Across the UK, most recent DfT figures show that in 2005, 28,126 children aged 0-15 were injured in road accidents. 3,331 of these were seriously injured and 141 were killed. These include 11,250 child pedestrian casualties, of which 2,071 were seriously injured and 63 killed. While great efforts, including more clearly marked crossings and speed camera enforcement, have allowed a significant reduction in casualties to be seen from the levels of over 6,800 a decade ago, much more can be achieved.

It is particularly noteworthy that while the number of children killed or seriously injured (KSI) in cycling accidents has fallen by 53% and as car passengers have fallen by 54%, the number of KSI accidents for child pedestrians in the UK has fallen by just 46%.