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Technology May Help Curb Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving has become such a danger in the United States that there is a week dedicated to its prevention. November 1-8, 2020 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. According to the National Sleep Foundation, half of all U.S. adult drivers admit to driving while drowsy. About 20% admit that they have fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in the last year. 40% admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in their driving careers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 100,000 police-reported crashes annually are caused by drowsy driving.

The New York Times reports that wearable technology may be able to tell drowsy drivers that it’s time to pull over.

Fatigue is something that comes with the job of driving an 18-wheeler. Rules regulate how long a driver can remain behind the wheel at a time by enforcing rest stops. Technology has become available to alert drowsy drivers, sometimes even before they realize that they are tired. 

New wearable technology, however, may make it easier for drivers to be notified when they’re tired. It is also more subtle. The technology can come in the form of a vest, cap, wristband, or even glasses.

One device, called the SmartCap, is a headband that fits into the caps that truckers wear. It measures electronic brain waves and translates them to measures of alertness or fatigue. It then sends its findings to both the driver and a central monitoring system.

However, the trucking industry is often slow to implement change. The industry has been focused on a new law that requires the installation of electronic logging devices. These devices will help to ensure that drivers do not drive longer than legally allowed and that they take the required breaks.

 

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