Drowsy drivers on the road are as dangerous as drunk drivers. When these drivers are operating large, commercial vehicles, the level of damage they can cause skyrockets. Trucking accidents are among the most dangerous in the country. This is true for not just the pedestrians, motorcyclists and passenger-vehicle drivers they strike but also themselves.
Forbes estimates that more than 3.5 million truck drivers operate on American roads as of 2016. Experts expect the growth rate to hit 21% by 2026. There are roughly half a million truck crashes every year and each one eats into the $650 million industry at $60,000 per accident.
Smart headset to alert drivers
Thankfully, there are tech options available that can improve these stats. Co-Pilot is a smart headset that tracks when drivers begin to display signs of sleepiness. It then alerts them. To accomplish this, the headset relies on a wealth of data:
- Texting behaviors
- Carbon monoxide
- 3D accelerometers
The device takes into account if drivers follow the recommended rule to check mirrors every five to eight seconds. It also notices if the driver’s head begins to drop or bob.
Smart headband to alert drivers
Co-Pilot is not the only wearable tech truckers can count on to keep them awake. New York Times covers another good option known as the SmartCap. This device relies on lightweight biometric sensors that detect fatigue. Additional options include wearing vests, glasses or wristbands.
At one point, the industry considered cameras pointed at the drivers. However, issues related to privacy concerns put a stop to this. Of the other available devices still in use, some even help drivers to correct dangerous driving habits, such as braking too hard.
Unfortunately, the trucking industry is not known for acting as early adopters in the world of tech. Even so, many trucking companies or even individual truckers can take measures into their own hands by using this technology to keep American roads safer.