I read tons of stuff outlining new and innovative designs. I should be writing about one of those ideas, but being that I would much rather complain than gush, I will explain why brake light design sucks.
Yesterday I was driving home from southern Ontario, and as always the further you get into eastern Ontario the quality of the driving goes further into the shitty mess range of the spectrum. I was following one guy who seemed to brake every 10-15 seconds. The car in front of him was braking and he would barely slow down. After a few minutes of this I figured he was either resting his left foot on the brake peddle or was absolutely paranoid. Being unable to pass because of the traffic I accepted his incompetence and when he would brake I would left off the accelerator since he was not really braking. Well that was all well and good until he really did slow down. I almost ended up parked in his trunk. Luckily I did not, but it left me thinking that an on/off night is not appropriate for brakes.
Instead of a simple bi-modal light I think that the brightness of the brake light should be related to the intensity of the braking action. It would give you a clearer indication of what the idiot in front of you is doing, and more quickly alert you to upcoming dangers.
Along the slightly different lines, brake lights should not be limited to the rear of the car. When you are at a yellow light and looking to turn left it would be nice to know whether the oncoming vehicles are braking or have just mashed down on the accelerators to try to make it through the light. It would give you a much clearer indication of what oncoming cars are doing.
If car companies are serious about making cars safer, then forget turning the car into one giant air bag instead give us a clearer indication of what the surrounding jackasses are doing.