There are many dangers associated with driving eighteen wheelers. It seems like we hear about a major trucking accident almost every day. Either a semi has jack-knifed, lost control because of shifting loads or faulty equipment, or because the truck driver has fallen asleep from exhaustion.
Driver fatigue is a very real issue in the transportation industry. So much so that technology companies have jumped in to create devices and applications to prevent crashes causing significant property damage and costly personal injuries. Like it or not, drivers are human and even after taking required driving breaks under federal law, long hauls take their toll.
When one company makes a significant change, many often follow suit in order to remain competitive and current with safety trends. According to the New York Times, previous attempts have been made to catch drivers as they begin dozing off. One plan involved installing cameras inside cabs to alert truckers when head or eyelid droopiness is detected. That idea was shut down out of concern for driver privacy.
Now, biometrics are being used to make the roadways safer for everyone, including truck drivers themselves. By attaching a sensor to various wearable items, a driver can be alerted to fatigue through a dashboard panel. These items include:
The eyewear measures blinking, and if the lids stay shut for too long, a driver will hear an alarm and notification. The headset monitors head position to determine where a driver might be looking. It also measures the frequency of mirror checks, which can signal a sleepy driver. In addition to the headset detecting fatigue, it may also detect drivers being distracted by activities such as cell phone use based on the position of the driver’s head. If his or her head is frequently pointed down, it could signify texting or other cell phone activity that may cause a collision.
The goal of this new tech for truckers
Just because a driver is alerted doesn’t mean he or she will wake up, or even pull off the roadway to rest. Many drivers know they’re tired but push through to keep up with delivery deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines can mean loss of business and a job. Responsible drivers who consistently implement this technology when they’re on the roads may save themselves and you from tragedy.
These devices and systems are intended to help coach drivers to figure out what works best for them in any given fatigue scenario.
In addition to the obvious immediate benefits of wearing these sensors, the information they capture can be used to track behavioral patterns. These patterns may be contributing factors to collisions and gaining insight into how, when, and why behavior becomes a risk may go a long way in making corrections that will make the industry safer for everyone.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a trucking collision where the semi driver was drowsy or otherwise incapacitated, you have a right to be compensated for your losses. The Atlanta and Savannah-based truck accident attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP have successfully represented clients throughout Georgia in cases involving negligent drivers. To schedule your free consultation, call our Savannah office at 912-651-9967, our Atlanta office at 404-961-7650, or reach out to us through our contact page.