St. Petersburg, Florida -- It's not bullets or bad guys. Car crashes are the number one killer of law enforcement officers on duty.
The Florida Highway Patrol is rolling out a batch of new bright ideas to fight that.
More and more as you cruise around Tampa Bay, you'll start to see something surprising on the back of state troopers' vehicles.
They're big, bright decals in a diagonally striped pattern, stretched across the back bumper. They're just some of the enhancements FHP is adding to every new cruiser.
Disturbing videos from across the country show troopers crushed and almost killed during traffic stops.
Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a trooper who patrols Tampa Bay, has been hit three times in the line of duty.
"Any kind of visibility that increases the awareness to passing motorists that -- I'm on the side of the road, give me room to do my job -- makes me happier," Gaskins said.
New highway patrol cruisers are marked with red and yellow chevrons.
The diagonal stripes are a pattern that's psychologically powerful, designed for your brain to spot and react to them before you even think about it.
Another improvement is almost invisible in daylight. Black strips all over the vehicle's body glow gold in headlights at night, showing the car's entire outline.
The new light bar on top is almost blindingly bright.
And, depending on the weather and the time of day, a sensor changes the mix of red and blue to make it, scientifically, the most visible to the human eye.
"Anything we can do to keep our troopers safer on the side of the road, we want that," Gaskins said.
"Because it also is safer for the passing motorists, as well, if they can see us and avoid us."
At this point, FHP is equipping only its new cruisers with the gear as the cars join the fleet.
Gaskins says the cost is minimal; they have to buy a light bar no matter what for new vehicles -- the better bars are just a bit more expensive. The decals cost only a few dollars.
Grayson Kamm, 10 News