Friday, February 02, 2018

How can we prevent vehicle-ramming attacks such as that committed by Darren Osborne?

Terrorists like Darren Osborne, the dull alcoholic who has just been convicted of a vehicle-ramming murder in Finsbury Park last year, are now using vehicles, especially hired vans, as weapons. Technology (under patents patents held by Fiji and Toyota) exists to mitigate these attacks by switching off the engine on the first impact. This would prevent the driver from careering on under power through a crowd causing the scale of deaths that we saw in Barcelona, Nice, Berlin, London Westminster, Stockholm, London Bridge, London Finsbury Park and Charlottesville, to name but a few. They would also prevent the run part of hit-and-run accidents.

The National Security Council was informed in confidence about this simple technology, which might add about £50 to the cost of a van, some five months ago. They have not responded in any way. My letter to them is below.

We need to a public discussion about if, how and when this protective technology should be fitted.

The Secretary
National Security Council
10 Downing St
London SW1


Dear Sir or Madam

re Protecting the public against terrorist attacks using vehicles

I am writing to the NSC as you have the role of developing effective protective security policies and capabilities for government.

The recent horrific terrorist vehicle attack in Barcelona, following other such atrocities in Nice, Berlin, London Westminster, Stockholm, London Bridge, London Finsbury Park and Charlottesville are a cause of great concern, as they turn every vehicle into a potential weapon. Physical defence against such weaponry, building barriers to separate pedestrians from traffic countrywide, would be enormously expensive and disruptive.

There is a far more cost-effective way to protect the public against these attacks.

A quick patent search shows several Vehicle Collision Detectors (for example JP2015081070(A)) registered by serious actors such as Toyota, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd and Denso Corporation. These are designed to warn drivers when they have hit someone. It would be a very simple matter to link one of these warning systems to the on-board computer so that the ignition was switched off immediately on impact.

The effect of this would be to prevent the vehicle from continuing to power on through a crowd of pedestrians, and so would mitigate the damage done by this modality of terrorism.

This device could be described as a Vehicle Impact Detector and Immobiliser (VIDI). It could be developed and tested in a matter of weeks.

Every innovation has a potential downside. One is that a vehicle fitted with a VIDI might hit a pedestrian and pin him or her against an immobile structure. On level or upward sloping ground the vehicle could be rolled away. On downward sloping land the situation might persist until the engine could be restarted or the vehicle pulled away. This would in any case be a rare event, so we would have to balance this rare event against the prospect of continued, multiple murders by terrorists, which could conceivably continue for a few more years, with all that means for community cohesion and confidence in Government.

I hope therefore that you will give this proposal serious consideration. Please feel free to pose any questions that you may have.

Sincerely, Richard Lawson

1 comment:

Chris Keene said...

Good idea