Major investment is being made in developing a range of collapsible posts designed to improve passenger injury rates in the event of collisions with roadside objects.

The Frangible Post System was developed by 3M and the technology has now been sold to Frangible Safety Posts (FSP), a company based in Loughborough, UK.

FSP said it aims to expand on the FSP 140mm diameter post already available on the market by launching a full range of alternate-sized posts by mid-2010.

It is estimated that collisions with roadside objects such as signposts, lampposts and crash barriers cause 15% of all road fatalities.

The frangible post is made from glass-reinforced plastic and is engineered to shatter on impact, minimising the damage to vehicles and protecting occupants.

The FSP 140mm post has been designed to meet the European Standard for Passive Safety (EN12767). It was independently certified at the Transport Research Lab while owned by 3M and achieved NE:3 status, the highest safety ranking awarded to any signpost.

FSP said its posts are strong enough to withstand turbulent weather conditions but light and flexible enough to collapse on impact.

The concept of passive safety has been backed by the UK’s Highways Agency and Institution of Civil Engineers.