Comprehensive overview

I. Goals of a Front Brake Light

1. The number of traffic casualties

Dealing with road traffic is a daily part of life for almost all members of society. As a result, traffic safety is an ever-present issue whose importance increases in line with increases in traffic density.

According to a study by the road safety campaign “Get Off Gas”, when someone dies in a traffic collision, an average of 113 other people – family members, friends, acquaintances and emergency services personnel – are affected directly and sometimes permanently.1

Despite the increase in road traffic, the number of deaths from traffic collisions has decreased slightly, as a result of improvements in the road infrastructure, vehicle technology and trauma care. However, a consequence of the reduced number of deaths has been an increase in the number of people who are severely injured. Such people may not always fully recover from the physical and psychological effects of such trauma and may have to live with the long-term consequences of the collision. Currently, in Germany alone, there are about 2.5 million people directly or indirectly affected by traumatic brain injury2.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO)3, 1.24 million people die on the roads of the world annually. Half of them are pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists. A further 20 to 50 million people are injured in traffic collisions.

In Germany, about 270,000 people suffer craniocerebral trauma every year. Around a third (90,000) of these cases result from traffic collisions. Most (90.9%) cases are minor; 3.9% are moderate and the remaining 5.2% are severe craniocerebral trauma, resulting in more than 7,700 deaths annually.4

With an annual death toll of around 25,300 on the roads of Europe in 2017, some 135,000 serious injuries and the social costs of medical care, rehabilitation and lost work amounting to about €120 billion a year, the EU has set itself the target of reducing road deaths between 2010 and 2020 to around 16,000.5 Since 2007, the German Road Safety Council (DVR) has based its work on traffic safety on a “Vision Zero”, a target which also includes seriously injured people.6

However, given the fact that the number of deaths and serious injuries is only declining slightly, it is questionable as to whether enough measures are being taken to improve traffic safety.7

Adopting and achieving the EU’s objective requires the taking of every opportunity to improve traffic safety.

2. The Front Brake Light – an easily implementable contribution to more traffic safety

Given the complex triangular relationship between human, vehicle and environmental factors, advances in traffic safety will always have to encompass a variety of innovations.

One of these innovations could be the Front Brake Light, a forward-facing lighting device that, when the foot brake is applied, illuminates simultaneously with the rear brake lights and tells on-coming road users that the driver has applied the brake.

As early as 1971, a initial study was undertaken in the US on the usefulness of such a Front Brake Light. A number of private vehicles were equipped with it for about a month. Afterwards, the participants were asked about their experience of using it and rated its value. At the same time, a control group with no experience of using it was asked to evaluate the concept. Both groups considered the Front Brake Light to be useful in communicating with other drivers and pedestrians. Particular emphasis was placed on the importance of such a device under conditions of poor ambient lighting (e.g. during the night) as well as the conscious use of communicating behavioral intentions.8

Building on this research, a more extensive longitudinal field test was carried out at Berlin-Tegel Airport in 2017, in which both the drivers of the vehicles equipped with a Front Brake Light and other road users who had come into contact with the equipped vehicles were questioned. The results of this research also showed wide support and recognition for the concept.

(Field study) Table 12. Open comments: Examples of positive comments broad support and recognition for the concept. (the number of comments is given in parentheses) 9

CategoryComments (examples)
Anticipation and reaction (13)“You can see quicker that the vehicle is braking"
“You can respond more quickly to the braking of other road users.”
General positive comments (10)“That was very good.“
“Good idea.“
Visibility (10)“Good. I expect it to be even more positive in winter.”
“The version currently used on vehicles does not dazzle, but is very clearly visible.“
Feeling of safety (7)“As a road user, you feel safer.”
“Safety has increased.“
Communication (3)“Improved communication among road users.”
“The flow of traffic has improved.”
Colour (3)"Colour is noticeable."
Parking (1)“The Front Brake Light helped with parking”
Other (7)“Vehicles of other companies should also be equipped."
"You have to get used to it.“

Previously, in a laboratory study, Petzoldt, Schleinitz and Banse10 had also highlighted the information asymmetry between motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians. Whilst drivers have information such as the direction and body language of pedestrians to help understand their intentions on the road, pedestrians, at least when facing oncoming traffic, have few indications as to the intended behavior of drivers. For example, the absence of brake lights on the front of vehicles makes it harder for pedestrians to perceive braking. This problem is of particular importance when either using pedestrian crossings or crossing side roads in front of turning vehicles; situations in which collisions commonly occur.

Clearly, therefore, the Front Brake Light should be recognized as an additional, cost- effective and easily implementable measure to reduce traffic collisions, not least in terms of reducing the actual risk to pedestrians.

However, in common with other measures to improve traffic safety, it must be evaluated fully to determine its potential effectiveness.


II. Areas of application and potential benefits

1.  Collision prevention in specific situations

The catalogue of possible applications of a Front Brake Light includes a multiplicity of cases where it would improve communication between road users and thus ensure greater traffic safety. Such applications are by no means limited to asymmetric conflicts (e.g. vehicle / pedestrian). In vehicle / vehicle conflicts, the Front Brake Light also has the potential for collision avoidance.

Typical scenarios in which a Front Brake Light would help other road users to recognize the intention of a driver and thus better assess the traffic situation include:

  • Allowing drivers at the back of a queue of standing or slow-moving traffic to determine if following drivers are slowing down
  • Allowing other road users (particularly pedestrians and cyclists) crossing the mouth of an intersection to determine whether turning traffic is giving way to them
  • When changing lanes on multi-lane highways, allowing the driver to determine if following drivers are braking to allow the manoeuvre to take place
  • Allowing drivers approaching bottlenecks to determine the braking intentions of oncoming drivers
  • Allowing drivers on single-track roads to determine the braking intentions of oncoming drivers
  • Allowing pedestrians at designated crossing places to determine if oncoming drivers are giving way to them
  • Allowing drivers of emergency vehicles to determine whether oncoming drivers are giving precedence to them

Further situations and more detailed descriptions are provided in Appendix A – Catalogue of potential areas of application.

2.  Reduction of the severity of accidents by the warning function of a Front Brake Light

The Front Brake Light is expected to have a significant effect not only on the prevention of collisions, by providing drivers with a better understanding of the traffic situation, but also on the reduction in the severity of unavoidable collisions, by improving the victim’s ability to mitigate the consequences of the collision (see Appendix B – An opinion on the Biomechanics of Trauma).

3.  Road user communication issues related to electric and / or highly automated vehicles

As the proportion of electric and hybrid-powered vehicles increases, it will become more difficult for road users both to hear motor vehicles and also to detect any change in their speed. Both older road users (possibly because of age-related physiological changes) and children (because of their lack of experience in road traffic) may be particularly at risk. It is likely that these groups would find a Front Brake Light to be of particular value.

In addition, as driving becomes more highly automated and the driver becomes less involved in the actual task of driving, it will be necessary to provide new communication signals to replace those (such as facial expressions, hand signals and the like) currently used by drivers to inform other road users of their intentions.11 Again, a Front Brake Light could make an important contribution.

4.  Reduction in stress whilst driving

Enhanced communication between road users can result in greater co-operation between them which, in turn, can reduce their level of stress.12

In particular, in dense urban traffic, road users have a variety of signals, manoeuvres and other cues to perceive and interpret at the same time. Although it may seem unwise to add a further signal, such as a Front Brake Light, to an already complex situation, it should be noted that the number of simultaneous signals is less critical for the development of stress than the time needed to interpret the meaning of these signals.

Furthermore, the basic factors required to maintain an individual’s competence to make decisions and implement them are selection, optimization and compensation, to which special attention has to be paid in case of any loss of physical or mental functions.

Thus, if the improved communication resulting from a Front Brake Light makes it possible to interpret the behavior of another road user more quickly and reliably, then more time is available to the driver, in particular in complex situations, to interpret other, more ambiguous, cues.

Accordingly, it is expected that the overall level of stress of both drivers and other road users (including pedestrians) will be reduced. (see Appendix C – Reducing stress in traffic by the use of a Front Brake Light)


III. Technical concept

A Front Brake Light must be regarded as a light-signalling function (L-SF) within the meaning of the authorization13 , as a version with a lower light intensity would not be fit for purpose.

1.  Green as a targeted colour scheme

As part of the conception of a new light-signalling function (LSF) on motor vehicles, there is always the question of the appropriate light color to be used. This decision has to be taken from both a legal and a factual point of view.

a. Legal aspects

Due to their dedicated assignment to special situations and / or special vehicles, the following colors cannot be used for a Front Brake Light.

  • red – No red light which could give rise to confusion shall be emitted from a lamp in a forward direction (ECE R 48 § 10)
  • blue (generally reserved for emergency vehicles. Its use is normally governed by national legislation),
  • yellow (generally reserved to indicate dangerous situations or large or slow- moving vehicles. Its use is normally governed by national legislation),
  • amber – permitted only for direction indicator lamp, hazard warning signal and emergency stop signal (ECE R 48 § 15).

The choice, therefore, lies between green and white.

Given the already existing high number and range of variation, forward-acting white light signals (dipped beam, high beam, fog lights, etc.), the use of a white Front Brake Light could result in ambiguous information being received, thus nullifying its benefit for traffic safety.

The color green, however, is currently not used for LSF on motor vehicles.14 Against a background of the front end of a vehicle possibly showing several white light signals, it offers the advantage of unambiguousness and fast signal identification.

Although the use of green lights on vehicles is not currently regulated, the color is already well known in the road environment through its use in traffic signals. This is another reason why the harmonization of regulations is appropriate.

b. Psychological aspects

The selection of the colour green for a Front Brake Light is also supported by other technical-psychological points of view (see Appendix D – Psychological effect of the colors green and red):

“On the basis of the results of the present study, the suitability of the color green for a Front Brake Light can be established, since green was associated by the test subjects with words of forward movement and the  Front Brake Light is designed to arouse the readiness to act accordingly,  i.e. to “go” or to “proceed” (cf. arousal, Mehrabian, 1978). In contrast, words of braking/decelerating are associated with red, whereby a red Front Brake Light would signal other road users to stop. This is the case, for example, with conventional brake lights, where the rear brake light is intended to indicate braking so that the vehicle behind also stops and a rear-end collision is avoided. In conjunction with a Front Brake Light, however, this would be counterproductive.

From a psychological point of view, the result of this study is that for a Front Brake Light the color green should be preferred to other colors such as orange and blue, but especially to the color red.”

2.  Technical construction of the Front Brake Light

a.   Integration into the existing electronics

It is assumed that the Front Brake Light is linked directly to the rear brake lights and thus only one more light source must be connected to otherwise identical circuits in the control unit(s).

Decisions still need to be taken on specific details of its operation prior to product implementation. Potential issues to be considered include:

  • The detail test with regard to its luminosity; on one hand to ensure visibility at night and in fog, whilst also avoiding glare (possibly by using a version with a 2-level light),
  • The release of the Front Brake Light, if the brake pedal is not activated during regenerative braking
  • The possibility of different light intensities at different braking
b.   Design

With regard to the design of a Front Brake Light, a number of variants are conceivable, depending on the type of vehicle and its vehicle design.

(Pictures: Lumaco Innovations AG)

Relevant technical details must be clarified in the context of production implementation.

IV. IV. The Front Brake Light within the framework of the objectives of the EU

1.  European Parliament report on road safety

In November 2017, the European Parliament published an own-initiative report entitled On saving lives: boosting car safety in the EU. [Document A8-0330/2017]15

Amongst its wide-ranging review, the report stresses that, ”in order to improve road safety, the deceleration of vehicles should be rendered easier for other road users to perceive by means of clear signal lights on vehicles, and expects the compulsory use of an emergency braking indicator in the form of a flashing brake light or flashing hazard lights” [§ 37].

Even if the display of emergency braking is in the foreground, in perspective other light signals in addition to the existing brake lights are also addressed. Furthermore, the general demand in the sense of traffic safety is by no means limited to signals in the background.

It is concluded, therefore, that the concept of a Front Brake Light is also in line with the objectives set out in paragraph 37 of the report, in particular because it also provides the required uniqueness of the signal due to the conceptual color scheme (green).

2.  Requirements for mandatory driver assistance systems

At the same time, the requirements for driver assistance systems were raised in the same report.

“The European Parliament stresses that approximately 92 % of all accidents are due to human error or interaction of human error with vehicles and/or infrastructure, and that it should therefore be compulsory to incorporate only those driver assistance systems which improve road safety significantly as demonstrated by scientific evidence, have a favourable cost-benefit ratio, and have attained market maturity; considers that additionally, the resulting purchase price increases should not be so inordinate that the intended customers for such vehicles cannot afford to buy them, and that driver assistance systems, which are of relevance for road safety, should be checked regularly;” [§ 17]

3.  Fulfilling the EU criteria for mandatory driver assistance systems

It can be deduced from the report of the European Parliament (see above) that a system meeting the requirements of being included in the list of compulsory assistance systems complies with the objectives of the EU.

Accordingly, if high-quality and expensive assistance systems are prescribed that pose a particular financial burden for the citizen, then this must also apply to low-cost systems. The only prerequisite is the fulfillment of the criteria for higher-quality

assistance systems. It must therefore first be examined whether the Front Brake Light meets the requirements in the specific case.

a.   Scientific evidence

Only rarely are efforts made to investigate scientifically the effect of a new vehicle safety feature on the road users prior to its type approval.

In order to prove scientifically the actual effectiveness of the concept of the Front Brake Light in enhancing traffic safety, a two-stage procedure of scientific investigations was chosen.

The first step was a laboratory study with volunteers using video simulations.

Summary of the laboratory research 16

“Lack of or faulty communication between motorised road users and pedestrians is undoubtedly one of the factors that can explain the still high number of pedestrians injured in road traffic. A vehicle-mounted Front Brake Light communicating the driver’s intention to stop would be a very simple way to assist pedestrians in interacting with motorised vehicles. In the course of a laboratory test, video material was used to test the extent to which such a Front Brake Light has an effect on the identification of braking. The results show that braking with the Front Brake Light can be identified much earlier. At the same time, however, it also became clear that, in a scenario in which vehicles are fitted with front braking lights but the lights are not lit, the lack of activation of the light leads to more conservative response on the part of the observers. Accordingly, a positive effect of a Front Brake Light on traffic safety can be assumed.”

The second step was followed by a large-scale field trial on the grounds of the Berlin Tegel Airport.

Summary of the field research 17

“The Front Brake Light makes it easier for pedestrians and other road users to perceive critical traffic situations and can thus increase traffic safety. A longitudinal field study examined the effects of the Front Brake Light on traffic safety in a closed traffic area, the airside part of the Berlin-Tegel Airport (TXL). For this purpose, 102 vehicles were equipped with a Front Brake Light for a period of three months and 516 employees were asked about their experiences with and their attitude towards the Front Brake Light. The results showed that the Front Brake Light rarely led to misunderstandings of the traffic situation. More often it increased the perceived safety of the situation. The attitude towards the Front Brake Light was already very positive in the first survey and significantly improved over the three months of the field test.

Overall, the findings suggest that a Front Brake Light as a light-signalling device on motor vehicles can increase road safety by improving communication between drivers and other road users.”

These results were then publicly presented at a press and information event at Berlin-Tegel Airport and discussed with experts in traffic safety work.

In May 2018, the results were published in the German traffic safety journal

Zeitschrift für Verkehrssicherheit (ZVS)

b.   Significant contribution to increasing road safety

The consistently positive results of both studies, both in terms of improving response times and conceptual field assessment, demonstrate that the Front Brake Light could make a real and significant contribution to increasing traffic safety by helping road users analyze potentially critical traffic situations more quickly, avoid them or master them better.

The complementary adoption of communication functions in the context of increasingly automated driving (see above), which has hitherto been performed by the driver, as well as the potential reduction of stress (Appendix C) contribute to an increase in overall road safety.

Last but not least, a potential reduction in collision severity (see above and Appendix B) must also be regarded as a significant increase in traffic safety from a biomechanical standpoint, since the consequences of a collision always form a significant part of the overall consideration.

With regard to the transitional period (vehicles with and vehicles without Front Brake Light) or the introductory phase (when road users must get used to the presence of a Front Brake Light and understand its meaning), it should be noted that

  • it has emerged from the laboratory study that road users as a whole are more cautious when vehicles with the Front Brake Light are actually present in traffic but the light is unlit, so that no specific problems are foreseen during the transitional period,
  • it has emerged from the field study that the concept of the Front Brake Light is simple and easy to understand

Thus, it may be assumed that the increase in traffic safety, which can be achieved by a Front Brake Light on motor vehicles, is not insignificant.

c.   Positive cost-benefit ratio

The introduction of the Front Brake Light is expected to result in a reduction in the number of traffic collisions coupled with a reduction in the severity of those that do occur (see above).

On the other hand, there are moderate costs for materials (connection to existing control units, software, cables, bulbs, possibly own luminary), design and processing costs, which, according to current estimates, should not exceed € 30 per vehicle for new vehicles in mass production.18 Thus, no significant effect on the total cost of a motor vehicle is apparent.

However, within the context of traffic safety, financial costs are not the only relevant considerations. Human and emotional aspects are as important, in particular the avoidance of human suffering caused by traffic collisions.

Given the low implementation costs per vehicle on the one hand and the expected significant reduction in both economic (collision) costs and emotional “costs” on the other hand, a positive cost-benefit ratio from the introduction of a Front Brake Light can be assumed – even if, subject to large-scale studies in current traffic, an exact quantification of the cost savings cannot be made.

It should also be borne in mind that the initial discussion does not aim for mandatory introduction, but merely for voluntary approval, so that less stringent requirements should be imposed on the cost-benefit ratio.

d.   (Given) Marketability

The required technology for the implementation of a Front Brake Light is available. Its introduction does not depend on further technical innovation.

The only issue requiring clarification relate to vehicle design and other technical details.

e.   (No) Financial burden on the citizen

Due to the small amount of material and processing required to install a Front Brake Light as part of mass production (see above), there is no reason why the total cost of the vehicle should increase.

f. (Unproblematic) Integration of the Front Brake Light into the periodic vehicle monitoring 

The Front Brake Light alone is analogous to a rear brake light only a light-signalling function (LSF) and, initially, is not classified as a driver assistance system. However, it can be connected such a system.

As a “simple” LSF, it is easy to integrate its device into the procedure of periodic vehicle monitoring. There is, therefore, no apparent justification for a significant addition to the cost of periodical technical inspection.

4.  Conclusion

In the light of the above, it should be noted that the Front Brake Light also complies with the high standards set by the European Parliament for driver assistance systems if they are required to be installed.

More importantly, it is essential that such a system, if it meets the requirements for a mandatory requirement, must also be able to be introduced as a “milder remedy” on a voluntary basis. However, this requires basic admissibility within the scope of the regulatory framework.

Thus, the objective of the EU should or must be to create the legal requirements – either within European law or in the context of the UN/ECE regulations – for a corresponding type or type approval procedure of the Front Brake Light within the framework of the self-defined objectives for traffic safety.

V. Legal framework of an introduction

Light-signalling devices – which include the Front Brake Light – are among the components of motor vehicles, the approval for which falls under the international law. Thus, according to the “framework directive” 2007/46/EG, a type approval is required.

Relevant factual regulations are VO (EC) 661/2009 in combination with

  • R 48 (UN) ECE for vehicles of categories M, N, and O,
  • R 53 (UN) ECE for category L 3 vehicles,
  • Regulation (EU) 2015/208 Annex XI and XII for vehicles of categories T, C, R and

The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, on the other hand, has little direct application for the European Union, but it does, in part, form the basis of type approval regulations (and their amendments), conformity to which is a pre-requisite for worldwide acceptance and the sale of vehicles licensed in the EU.

National legislation, such as the German StVZO, only applies in individual cases and do not justify any pan-European approval options for production vehicles.

1.  Legal classification of a Front Brake Light

Clarification is required as to what extent the proposed concept of the Front Brake Light complies with existing vehicle type-approval regulations or what changes would be required in those provisions in the interests of road safety.

a. Design, form and assembly/installation

The design, form and installation of LSF on motor vehicles are defined in detail in regulations R 48, 53, 86 (UN) ECE. The concept of the Front Brake Light, as presented here, is sufficiently flexible to meet these requirements.

b. Green as the color of an LSF on motor vehicles

Red is generally excluded as a forward-looking LSF.19 White, which is already approved for forward-looking LSF, would not make sense for a Front Brake Light due to “drowning” in the face of already existing light signals and the associated likelihood of confusion.

The color green is proposed as the best solution on the grounds of its positive psychological effect as well as its distinctiveness and thus fast detectability (see above under III.1.).

The colors of LSF on motor vehicles is generally governed by the CIE standard panel, to which both the Vienna Convention and the corresponding (UN) ECE R 48 apply. In these, however, green is not yet defined as the color of an LSF on motor vehicles.

Thus, there is a need to also define green as a color for LSF on motor vehicles and thus to permit its use.

Insofar as it is stipulated in the framework of the regulations that the light of a LSF, which has the same task and works in the same direction, must have the same color, this is not a problem here.20

On the contrary, it can be inferred that, even with the same task, LSFs do not have to have the same color if they act in different directions. Therefore, a simultaneous presence and functioning of a Front Brake Light in green with rear brake lights in red would be permitted.

c. Brake signal in front direction

Brake lights are currently defined as “lights that serve to indicate to other road users behind the vehicle that […]”.21

There is, therefore, a need to either extend the concept of the brake light in the regulations or incorporate the concept of the Front Brake Light under a different approach as an additional regulation.

2.  Possible legislative implementation

Legislative adaptations of the concept of a Front Brake Light within the framework of the objectives of the EU road safety work therefore require legislative changes.

a. Manageable required changes

What is needed is a manageable framework of essentially two changes:

  • Green must be approved as a color of LSF on motor
  • Brake signals must also be delivered to the

Ideally, these steps would be agreed internationally, at the level of the Vienna Convention. However, due to the large number of negotiating partners, such an approach seems unrealistic in a timeframe appropriate to the EU’s objectives for reducing the number of road deaths.

The same problem applies initially to a corresponding change within the framework of the (UN) ECE regulations, even if the possibilities here may be regarded as considerably more promising.

On the other hand, under some national regulations, exceptions may still be granted. For instance, according to Art. 70 of the German Road Traffic Admissions Act (StVZO), exceptions are permitted for trial purposes and research projects, but no general introduction of a new LSF is permitted.

The most sensible and promising way to achieve the gain in safety for road users in the EU through the concept of the Front Brake Light as soon as possible appears to be via the EU’s own legislation. Accordingly, it would be desirable – assuming the appropriate political will exists – the above-mentioned changes are implemented as EU-specific extensions within the scope of the respective application provisions of the ECE regulations within the EU area.

b. Required steps

In its report, the EU Parliament has presented objectives for future traffic safety work, to which the EU Commission, as the executive branch, comments and, if necessary, proposes measures to implement the proposals.22

The right of initiative for EU regulations usually lies with the EU Commission. The introduction of a Front Brake Light would require an extension of the relevant approval regulations by the European Commission to be initiated and implemented. Further progress would then be in line with the normal course of action under EU regulations and directives.

The exact definition of the text of the relevant provisions to be amended or extended

– including any proposed amendments – must be defined in the context of a legal- technical review of the regulations, a mirror image of a homologation procedure.

3.  Further questions and perspectives

In connection with the actual introduction of the Front Brake Light in real traffic, further questions are foreseeable and, in view of the ongoing technical development of driver assistance systems, far-reaching perspectives are also possible.23

a.   Intuitive understanding in normal traffic

Possibly, for safety reasons, it might be necessary to clarify again whether the system of the Front Brake Light is, in fact, intuitively understood even in normal traffic, i.e. not only under the special conditions of a non-public road network.

In doing so, suitable upper and lower limit values of the display must be taken into account and the question be clarified as to how delays in regenerative braking systems should be displayed. Basically, the method used should be analogous to that used for rear brake lights.24

b.   No liability for the overall situation

Unlike some previous discussions on the use of the rear brake light, instead of gestures, as a means of indicating precedence to other road users,25 the present conception of the Front Brake Light is solely as an aid to other drivers in dealing with complex traffic situations and, in no way, obviates their responsibilities to drive safely. According to current design and analogous to existing rear brake lights, the Front Brake Light represent only forward-looking information that the vehicle is slowing but provides no assurance that it will come to a timely halt.

It should be ensured that its function cannot be interpreted differently at the legal level.

c.   Further development in connection with emergency braking systems

Both as a function of a possibly undesirable result under Section b above as well as from general considerations in view of the advancing developments in driver assistance systems, the question could arise of an extension of the previous concept of the Front Brake Light to a coupling with driver assistance systems to produce a real picture of the situation.

Such developments could actually analyze whether a braking deceleration is sufficient to clarify a situation (see already existing “emergency brake assistants”). In that case, the Front Brake Light would actually (and only then) signal that at least the signalling vehicle will come to a standstill in time.

This consideration is particularly relevant in view of the fact that the EU Commission is planning to introduce automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian recognition as of the end of 2024, initially for new vehicle types, but successively for all new motor vehicles. The cyclist recognition will follow two years later.26 Regardless of the actual accessibility of this timetable, there is a firm political will to anchor pedestrian recognition as a driver assistance system in traffic safety work.

d.   Possible further development to the all-round signal

The extent to which a signal effect for a more complex traffic situation with more than two road users can be connected depends primarily on the further development of systems that provide the driver with an overview of the situation.

Against the background of improved communication and perceptibility, both in the context of replacing driver gesture in highly automated driving and in view of increased distractions of pedestrians (smartphones, etc.), a further development of the concept towards an all-round (360°) signal is also conceivable.

Such a signal would also have to be perceived in peripheral vision and would then indicate an intention of both braking and acceleration processes.

IV. Milestones and first presentation in the professional world

Since the beginning of the research and increasingly from the beginning of 2018, the concept of a Front Brake Light has already been presented to experts in traffic safety research in Germany. Concrete results from these discussions have been used as components of this report (for details see Appendix E – Milestones and first presentation in the professional world).

It should be noted that, from the responses of the interviewees in the field test, the concept of the Front Brake Light was consistently understood and generally positively regarded as self-explanatory.


  • Banse, R., Keidel, K., Monzel, M., Kirschbaum, B., Schubert, W.: „Feldstudie zur Erprobung einer Vorderen Bremsleuchte am Flughafen Tegel“, Forschungsbericht Bonner Institut für Rechts- und Verkehrspsychologie 2018; also published in ZVS Zeitschrift für Verkehrssicherheit 3/2018, S. 210 ff.
  • Braun, H., Damm, R., Konitzer, H. in: § 49 a Rdnr. 34 und § 53 Rdnr. 24, StVZO Technischer Kommentar, Kirschbaum Verlag 2018, Bonn.
  • Koch, Dieter-L., P8_TA-PROV(2017)0423; Entschließung des Europäischen Parlaments vom 14. November 2017 zu dem Thema „Rettung von Menschenleben: Mehr Fahrzeugsicherheit in der EU“ 2017/2085(INI), u. a. in: ZVS Zeitschrift für Verkehrssicherheit 1/2018, S. 45 ff.
  • Konitzer, H., Theis, C., Wehrmeister, J.: FEE Fahrzeugtechnik EWG/EU/ECE, Kirschbaum Verlag 2018, Bonn.
  • Krautscheid, R., Janke, S.: „Gutachten zur Implementierung einer Vorderen Bremsleuchte“, Forschungsbericht Bonner Institut für Rechts- und Verkehrspsychologie 2017.
  • Petzoldt, T., Schleinitz, K., Banse, R.: „Laboruntersuchung zur potenziellen Sicherheitswirkung einer vorderen Bremsleuchte in Pkw“, in: ZVS Zeitschrift für Verkehrssicherheit 1/2017, S. 19 ff.
  • Post, D.V., Mortimer, R.G.: Subjective evaluation of the front-mounted braking signal.

List of Abbreviations

a.D.Außer DienstOff duty
ADAC UFOAllgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club UnfallforschungGeneral German Automobile Club Accident Research
AISVereinfachte VerletzungsskalaAbbreviated Injury Scale
BIRVpBonner Institut für Rechts- und VerkehrspsychologieBonn Institute for Forensic and Traffic Psychology
DEKRADeutscher Kraftfahrzeug – Überwachungs-VereinGerman motor vehicle – surveillance association
DFVDeutscher Feuerwehr VerbandGerman Fire Brigade Association
DHPOLDeutsche Hochschule der PolizeiGerman Police College
ECE REconomic Commission for Europe RegulationEconomic Commission for Europe Regulation
EUEuropäische UnionEuropean Union
e.V.Eingetragener VereinIncorporated society/incorporated association
EVUEuropäische Vereinigung für
Unfallforschung und Unfallanalyse
European Association for Accident Research and Accident Analysis
EWG/EU/ECEEuropäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft
Europäische Union/Economic Commission for Europe
European Economic Community / Economic Commission for Europe
FASFahrer-Assistenz-SystemDriver Assistance System
FEEFahrzeugtechnik EWG/EU/ECEVehicle Technology EWG/EU/ECE
FSDFahrzeugsystemdatenVehicle system data
GMTTBGesellschaft für Medizinische und Technische Traumabio-
Society for Medical and Technical Trauma Biomechanics
HWSHalswirbelsäulecervical spine
ICSInjury Cost ScaleInjury Cost Scale
LMULudwig-Maximilians-Universität (München)Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich)
LSFLichtsignalfunktionLight-signalling function
LTELichttechnische EinrichtungLight technical equipment
MdBMitglied des BundestagesMember of Parliament (Germany)
MdEPMitglied des Europäischen ParlamentMember of the European Parliament
PADPleasure Arousal Dominance ScalePleasure Arousal Dominance Scale
PkwPersonenkraftwagenPassenger car
SHTSchädel-Hirn-Traumabrain injury
StVOStraßenverkehrsordnungRoad traffic Act
StVZOStraßenverkehrs-Zulassungs- OrdnungRoad Traffic Admissions Act

  1. Representative survey by infratest dimap, Kantar Public and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), according to the German Police College (DHPOL) and the German Fire Service Association (DFV), s. www.runtervomgas/press, message 05/16/2017.
  2. Kay Nehm, President of the German Traffic Day, in: “Information for traffic accident victims” CNS – Hannelore Kohl Foundation, Bonn 2018.
  3. World Health Organisation (2013). Global staus report on road safety 2013.
  4. CNS – Hannelore Kohl Foundation, 2018
  5. Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport, in: “Commissioner relies on automatic emergency braking systems”, Die Welt, 10.4.2018,
  7. Representation of the European Commission in Germany, press release v. 28.3.2017,
  8. Post, D.V. & Mortimer, R.G.: Subjective evaluation of the front-mounted braking signal. Technical Memorandum HuF-TM-1, Highway Safety Research Institute. The University of Michigan 1971, Ann Arbor.
  9. Banse, R., Keidel, K., Monzel, M., Kirschbaum, B., Schubert, W.: Forschungsbericht „Feldstudie zur Erprobung einer
  10. Petzoldt, T., Schleinitz, K., Banse, R.: „Laboruntersuchung zur potenziellen Sicherheitswirkung einer vorderen Bremsleuchte in Pkw“, in: ZVS Zeitschrift für Verkehrssicherheit, 1/2017, S. 19 ff.
  11. This discussion will become more and more important as highly automated or autonomous driving will
  12.  Courtesy in road traffic is a central value in German Road Traffic
  14. Appendix 5 Convention on Road Traffic. Vienna 8/11/1968
  16. Petzoldt, T., Schleinitz, K., Banse, R.: „Laboruntersuchung zur potenziellen Sicherheitswirkung einer vorderen Bremsleuchte in Pkw“, in: ZVS Zeitschrift für Verkehrssicherheit, Heft 1/2017, S. 19
  17. Banse, R., Keidel, K., Monzel, M., Kirschbaum, B., Schubert, W.: Forschungsbericht „Feldstudie zur Erprobung einer Vorderen Bremsleuchte am Flughafen Tegel“, Bonner Institut für Rechts- und Verkehrspsychologie, Januar 2018.
  18. Consultation with Beratung Mag. Lubomir Marjak, Lumaco Innovations
  19. FEE, (UN)ECE R 48, Rdnr. 5.10, 5.10.1. i. V. m. Anhang 4.
  20. Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, Appendix 5.2 Nr. 44
  21. Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, Appendix 5.2 Nr. 19
  22. P8_TA-PROV(2017)0423; Entschließung des Europäischen Parlaments vom 14.11.2017 zu dem Thema „Rettung von Menschenleben: Mehr Fahrzeugsicherheit in der EU“ (2017/2085(INI).
  23. Consultations with experts on Road Traffic Safety as mentioned page 2.
  24. Krautscheid, R., Janke, S.: „Gutachten zur Implementierung einer Vorderen Bremsleuchte“, Forschungsbericht Bonner Institut für Rechts- und Verkehrspsychologie 2017, S. 22 ff.
  25. To this discussion: Braun, H., Damm, R., Konitzer, H. in: § 49 a Rdnr. 34 und § 53 Rdnr. 24, StvZO Technischer Kommentar, Kirschbaum Verlag, Bonn.
  26. Krautscheid, R., Janke, S., ebd., S. 28