The average car driver, speeding around trucks and tractor-trailers, probably does not give much thought to the large, waving mud flaps behind the tires of those larger, slower moving vehicles. Those flaps, however, are vital for keeping rocks, debris, water and road slop from flying up and out from under those big wheels. A necessity for trucks, mud flaps, however, can also be a hindrance for truck drivers. They are big, heavy and can make it difficult to access wheels and tires for repair.
Ask any truck driver who has had to pull over on a highway in a snowstorm to install chains on the wheels. Suddenly the useful mud flaps become a major obstacle. Lying on a wet, icy or snow-packed road while installing chains is unpleasant enough, without struggling to get access to the tires around the mud flaps. Consequently, chains are often improperly installed. They can be damaged or fall off the vehicle, leading to unsafe driving conditions.
What if truck mud flaps could be removed in seconds without the use of any tools? What if drivers could easily take off the flaps, install chains or do any tire/vehicle repair and snap the flaps back on?
Inventors Raymond Cross of Redstone, Colo., and Frank Dan Prazen of Marble, Colo., worked together to create a simple system for mud flap removal. Their design involved a two-part bracket assembly that includes a piece that is affixed to the vehicle or trailer and a removable piece that is hooked up to the mud flap. Together, the pieces hold the flap securely to the vehicle, but the removable piece can be easily disengaged to take down the mud flap. The design enables a person to remove a mud flap from a big rig in a matter of seconds, without using any tools.
Cross and Prazen approached Leyendecker & Lemire, LLC for assistance in securing a U.S. patent for their bracket assembly. Founded by Kurt Leyendecker and Peter Lemire, the Greenwood Village law firm provides intellectual property (IP) and business-related legal serves to entrepreneurs, individuals and businesses of all sizes. Leyendecker & Lemire guided the inventors through the complicated and intricate patent process. Their patent was successfully approved in November 2013.
Insta Flap, a Glenwood Springs, Colo. company founded by Cross and Prazen, now sells the bracket assembly sets that are heavy duty and rust free. They are made in America out of top quality stainless steel. No more tools are needed to remove the flaps after the initial four-bolt installation. Drivers can change their mud flaps or get new ones and still use the Insta Flap for years to come. The device contributes to road safety – something to think about the next time you pass that big rig.
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