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A spike strip (also known as traffic spikes, tire shredders, one-way traffic treadles, stingers, stop sticks and formally known as a tire deflation device) is a device used to impede or stop the movement of wheeled vehicles by puncturing their tires. Generally, the strip is composed of a collection of 35 to 75 mm (1.5 to 3 inches) long metal barbs, teeth or spikes pointing upward. The barbs are designed to puncture and flatten tires when a vehicle is driven over them. The barbs may be hollow or solid. Hollow barbs are designed to become embedded in the tires and allow air to escape at a steady pace in an attempt to reduce the risk of the driver crashing into oncoming traffic or the surroundings. It was co-invented by Donald Kilgrow, a retired Utah Highway Patrol trooper, along with a design engineer.
According to a national law enforcement memorial organization in the UK, records show that since 1973 as many as 20 or more police officers in the United States have been killed on duty while manually deploying old-fashioned road spikes or similar manual tire-deflation devices. Remotely deployable spike strips have been invented to reduce the danger to police officers deploying them. Spike strips are also built into some parking barriers to control traffic flow.
Homemade spike strips, cheaply constructed using a steel pipe and household nails, were banned in New South Wales in 2003 after being used against a police vehicle. John Watkins, a member of New South Wales Legislative Assembly, stated they would be added to the New South Wales prohibited weapons list.
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