A new safety device developed in Australia could potentially reduce injuries or deaths caused by motor vehicle fires by up to 80%. Labeled ‘Vehicle Safety Shutdown’ (VSS), the new system could easily be manufactured in commercially viable numbers and could one day become mandatory in all new cars. Best of all, it can also be retrofitted to older models.

The VSS was created by mechanic John Quee and utilizes two separate devices that can prevent fuel from igniting when in an accident. There is a fuel shutoff valve and a battery isolation unit, both of which are activated during a crash. It works on the principal that a fire starts with exposed fuel and an ignition source. “In an accident, if you can eliminate either one, then you have successfully prevented a vehicle fire and saved lives," Mr. Quee said when speaking with AutoNews reporters.

In the US alone, it’s estimated that more than 2,000 people die from car fires every year with an additional 1,000 suffering from severe burns. Unfortunately, the VSS system is still in prototype form, but according to its designer, there is “no reason for delaying its inclusion into motor vehicles."