One can imagine that Eric Carpenter has seen more than his fair share of rollover car accidents over the course of nine years as a Los Angeles firefighter. Accidents like last summer’s fatal rollover involving a teenaged drunk driver and the Greyhound bus driver who didn’t see the overturned vehicle until it was too late.
As a result of just that one accident, a total of six individuals lost their lives.
Accidents like this inspired Carpenter to invent what he calls the E.R.V.A.L. system. E.R.V.A.L. stands for Emergency Rollover Vehicle Awareness Light and the expanded title pretty succinctly sums up the system’s purpose. Composed of four high-intensity L.E.D. lights and a position sensor, the system triggers the lights when the vehicle tilts past 45 degrees.
It doesn’t matter whether the vehicle tilts to the front, back, right or left – anytime it goes past 45 degrees, the E.R.V.A.L. system will fire.
Carpenter hopes that the lights will warn approaching traffic of the rollover crash ahead. In fact, he feels that the fatal crash last year may never have happened if such a warning system had been in place. While it’s impossible to go back and fix that tragedy, the future of the system is wide open.
Already, police officers and firefighters have begun to test the system out – even though Carpenter cannot do much to market the product until he is granted a patent.