A push-button deployable-from-a-cruiser tire spike-strip may sound like science-fiction, but just such a spike-strip is now being tested by multiple police departments in the U.S.

The invention is fairly straightforward: a tubular metal container holds a strip of tire-spikes that are mounted on a metal extension, which slides out from the larger container.

The container is mounted to the front push-bumper of a police car or SUV at roughly a 30-degree angle, so that the spikes will head for the pavement when deployed. At the press of a button from inside the police cruiser, the spikes will shoot out at the pavement.

Of course, there is margin for error, as the police officer must properly line his vehicle up with the perpetrator’s vehicle before deploying the spikes. If, for example, the police car was positioned too far back, or too far to either side relative to the target vehicle, the spikes would not be deployed such that the target vehicle runs over them.

The device can be deployed at anywhere between 24 km/h and 193 km/h, according to MobileSpike, the creators of the new law-enforcement tool.

Many police departments currently train officers so that they can complete the precision immobilization technique, often referred to as the “PIT maneuver”–a technique involving an officer’s car nudging the rear corner of the vehicle they’re in pursuit of and inducing that vehicle into spin, causing the driver to lose control and either crash, or come to a stop.

The PIT can often end badly for the suspect, the police, or both, and the new deployable tire spikes would pose much less risk to both the perpetrator and the officers in pursuit.

Canadian police departments have reportedly shown interest in this device, too, according to MobileSpike, and mobile deployable tire spikes may well become commonplace hardware on highway cruisers in due time.

One thing is clear: this new technology should have you quadruple-thinking if tempted to give-it-the-gas when you see red-and-blue lights in your rear-view.

(MobileSpike via MotorAuthority)