A policeman turned entrepreneur from Hampshire has used his experience from his previous life to launch a ground breaking product helping prevent cyclists and pedestrians colliding with lorries and falling underneath the vehicle.
When James Dawes was working for the Metropolitan Police, he saw first-hand the dangers of central London's busy road network.
He had to attend several serious accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians colliding with lorries and falling underneath vehicles.
After he retired from the force in 2014, he set about designing a revolutionary road device that could significantly reduce injuries and fatalities caused by this type of collision.
That was the catalyst for the birth of Dawes Highway Safety, which recently launched its flagship DawesGuard innovation to the market following support from the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub.
The apparatus fits neatly between the axles of lorry wheels and, unlike any standard under-run bar, actually makes contact with the road surface thereby preventing the vehicle's wheels from passing over any person on the ground.
Utilising patented technology, the fully retractable system makes constant contact with the road surface, although the driver can control and retract the system when the vehicle is deployed in off-road environments such as building sites and quarries.
The innovation has successfully completed a trial with construction firm Keltbray Group, which will eventually fit the system to its new fleet of vehicles. The aim now for Dawes Highway is to target other construction fleet companies and original equipment manufacturers in a bid to rapidly scale up revenues.
Dawes said: "Most serious and fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles and cyclists or pedestrians happen when the vulnerable road user falls under the vehicle and is run over by the rear wheels.
“Our revolutionary device directly tackles a very real hazard and has the potential to significantly reduce the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities. Essentially, it will make urban areas much safer places to be."
For a startup operation, Dawes Highway has come a long way in a relatively short space of time but James has had a helping hand to get him to this point.
Despite having a good idea protected by a watertight set of patents, he couldn't get people to take him seriously at first and knew he needed further support.
After a long search, he was directed towards the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub, which introduced him to an experienced business mentor who could help him navigate the pitfalls that stood in his way.
His mentor, Mike O'Dwyer, helped him evaluate and re-write his business plans so that they included clear, measureable aims and objectives.
Dawes said: "Mike has been a great sounding board to bounce ideas off. He has also used his extensive network of contacts to recommend consultants and specialists who can advise me in areas of their expertise.
"The best thing about the Growth Hub is that it doesn't take a one-size-fits-all approach. It tailors advice and guidance to the needs of specific individuals and their business proposition.
"Now I'm ready to take my business to a new level. The financial potential of my product is massive and I'm looking forward to realising my dreams with continued help from Mike."
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