Driving a truck is a demanding occupation. Truck drivers often spend long periods of time away from home, and they often struggle with boredom, little mobility and loneliness. These elements of the job can all contribute to an age-old problem too many truckers deal with: fatigue.
Drowsiness is a serious issue in the trucking industry, and it has long plagued truckers and motorists alike. However, tech companies are hoping to bring safety into the future by creating wearable tech that can identify – and sometimes predict – fatigue in truckers.
Tech companies have developed hats, glasses, wristbands and vests that use software detection to identify signs of drowsiness and fatigue.
As this New York Times further describes, these devices monitor blink rates, head position, brain waves, sleep patterns, and driving behaviors. Using this data, they can determine if a driver could become drowsy or already is showing signs of drowsiness.
Challenges of technology
Despite the exciting potential of these and other devices, they cannot prevent every drowsy driving accident. To begin with, not every trucker uses wearable technology, and it is not required for drivers to use them.
Another important thing to remember is that technology has not replaced human drivers. Electronic logbooks, high-tech glasses and dashboard cameras can provide critical data in the event of a crash; they could even send an alert to a driver that he or she is exhibiting signs of fatigue. Ultimately, though, the driver is the one who must decide to pull over if he or she is fatigued.
Dangers of drowsy driving
People who are very tired typically have slowed reflexes. A driver who has fallen asleep can drift out of his or her lane into oncoming traffic and cause a head-on collision. Fatigue can impair a person’s decision-making skills and make them reckless.
Tragically, people often fail to recognize drowsiness as a hazard while driving. This failure could have catastrophic consequences, particularly when the sleepy person is in control of a massive commercial vehicle.