A high-tech bullbar which offers better protection to pedestrians than the front of a vehicle itself is among nominations for the 1998 Windscreens O'Brien Achievement in Automotive Safety Awards.
The "Smart Bar" is produced by Adelaide-based company Team Poly.
Made of polymer, a robust plastic, the smart bar was developed by transport operator Garry Retallick with the initial aim of minimising damage to his trucks.
The Smart Bar has proved such a success it is now available for around 40 models of passenger vehicle and looks set to become an Australian safety and export success story.
Tests at Adelaide University's National Health and Medical Research Centre show that the Smart Bar protects a vehicle without being aggressive.
The tests show it is more effective in reducing the effect of an impact on a pedestrian or animal than the unprotected front of the vehicle.
"It's an extraordinary achievement," said Team Poly general manager Clive Wallace.
The company is now in discussion with a number of Australian and overseas manufacturers who wish to source the Smart Bar as original equipment for their vehicles.
Other industry nominations for the 1998 Achievement in Automotive Safety Awards include:
- a brake fluid testing meter which ensures fluid meets manufacturers' specifications and national safety standards
- an after-market "retro-fit" airbag steering wheel which suits a wide range of vehicles built post-1985.
Community nominations have again indicated the national status of the awards
Early nominations include:
- a seatbelt education and awareness campaign targeting rural youth on NSW's north coast
- the South Australian Ambulance Service's low risk driving program for ambulance drivers
- A Queensland-based support group for those affected by road trauma.
The Achievement in Automotive Safety Awards were initiated by Windscreens O'Brien in 1992.
Two major awards are presented each year - Industry and Community - to jointly recognise the efforts of the automotive industry, individuals, groups and government organisations working to make motoring safer for all.
Nominations for the 1998 awards closed on October 16. Winners will be announced in Sydney on November 23.