A spike strip (also known as traffic spikes, tire shredders, one-way traffic treadles, stingers, stop sticks, a stinger in police slang, 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. One type was co-invented by Donald Kilgrow, a retired Utah Highway Patrol trooper, along with a design engineer, but they are historically just a development of the caltrop, anti-vehicle versions being used as early as the Second World War by the British Army.
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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- Beard, Jonathan (24 August 1991). "Technology: Spikes end chases with a hiss not a bang". New scientist (1783). Retrieved 27 September 2009.
- Dallas police ban use of spike strips that can halt fleeing vehicles | Dallas Morning News
- DynaSpike Remote Control Spike System
- Ban on home-made road spikes after car chase, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 10, 2003