Boom barrier dangers


ising arm barriers are ubiquitous. You will find them at railroad crossings, parking garages, upscale communities and many resorts. Even military camps use them as a safety measure.

They serve a vital purpose by preventing cars from entering dangerous areas when they shouldn’t and by controlling traffic flow. Without them, parking garage owners would be at the mercy of dishonest people and train tracks would be the site of more accidents. These barriers also make communities safer by forcing visitors to check in with trained guards. No one questions their usefulness. However, a malfunctioning rising arm can be dangerous. People need to be aware of these dangers and know how to mitigate them.


Although inadequate rising arm gates can cause injuries at any time, they are particularly dangerous when no attendant is present to override the system when a person or vehicle is “trapped” by the arm. The greatest danger is to pedestrians who may wander under an arm as it begins to descend. Once the arm makes contact, it should retract, but even if it functions properly, it may not be in time to prevent injury. Children are particularly vulnerable to these accidents.

More serious injuries occur when the pedestrian is squeezed between the barrier’s housing and the arm. In some instance, a person can suffer devastating crush injuries from these incidents. A malfunctioning arm can also damage motor vehicles, which is a less serious occurrence but still an unfortunate one.


Experts suggest several solutions to these problems. Photocells should be placed strategically around the barrier to register the presence of any pedestrians. A pressure edge should be attached beneath the arm so that it will stop once it makes any contact with a person or vehicle.

Manufacturers can improve rising arm barrier safety by switching to Smart DC Brushless motors that use torque control to prevent these accidents. These motors respond more quickly to signals and also adjust for pressure, meaning that fewer incidents will occur. They eliminate crushing accidents and give human operators more control.

Rising arm barriers should be a safe way to manage traffic, but not all use the best technology. Fortunately, additional photocells and brushless motors can make these devices safer for everyone.

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