Sir Stanley Thomas OBE, the Welsh business figure and property developer best known for founding catering giant Peter’s Food Services and more recently as benefactor to his hometown Merthyr RFC, is backing another made in Wales product that is set to have a major impact on road safety in the UK and around the world.
Sir Stanley, 76, is behind Penarth-based Road Safety Designs, whose first product, the BriteAngle LED warning triangle is on its initial production run of 100,000 units with a commitment to manufacturing in Rhondda Cynon Taf, creating a minimum of four new assembly jobs with more to follow when the company ramps up to full capacity.
The BriteAngle LED warning triangle has already attracted national recognition – Highly Commended in the Best In-Car Product Of The Year category in the inaugural FirstCar Awards at the RAC, Pall Mall this week.
The BriteAngle LED warning triangle was created to make the motorist much more visible in the event of an unexpected stop, using flashing, high-intensity LEDs to warn drivers of hazards up to 300 metres away. Drivers can therefore place the warning triangle directly behind their vehicle, making it quicker and safer if they have to stop, enabling them to be seen more clearly, reducing the risk of an accident, and making it much safer for themselves and other road users.
Sir Stanley said:
“I’ve haven’t been this excited about a new business venture for some years. This first product in the range, and the others following on, will impact hugely on road safety, and we are already getting high demand in international markets, where warning triangles are compulsory. These are products that are designed, developed and produced in Wales, and I’m proud to get behind what I firmly believe will be a great Welsh export success.”
In addition to the significant investment made by Sir Stanley, a further investment of around £200,000 has been made in tool injection presses to enable Road Safety Designs to manufacture in Rhondda Cynon Taf. The Welsh Government is supporting the international promotion of BriteAngle LED warning triangles over the next few years. The product is already selling in Germany, France and Italy, and there is interest in the UAE, USA, Scandinavia and the Republic of Ireland. It is sold, for example, in the showrooms of Aston Martin specialist Desmond J. Smail.
Road Safety Designs founder and Managing Director Stephen Wornham said:
“This is a really exciting time for us, with huge interest in our first product and the next two coming on stream later this year and in 2019. Having someone like Sir Stanley on board, with his huge business experience and passion for Wales, will help us enormously in our ambitions.”
Road Safety Designs’ research has shown that only 17% of UK drivers carry a warning triangle of any kind in their cars. Protecting all road users, the BriteAngle LED warning triangle comes in a compact, foldable design that remains stable in winds of up to 45mph. The Highway Code requires UK drivers to place a warning triangle 45m behind their vehicle in the event of a breakdown, something that can arouse a great deal of anxiety if you have been forced to stop. BriteAngle mitigates that requirement with its visibility up to 300m – day or night, rain or shine. It can be used by all vehicles, from private cars to commercial vehicles, caravans and motor homes, and is compulsory for anyone travelling abroad.