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New technology combats truck driver fatigue

Every year, numerous truck accidents are attributed to driver fatigue. While federal regulations limit the number of hours a driver can log each day, not all truck drivers follow these regulations. Some trucking companies enforce strict delivery deadlines that compel drivers to stay on the road even if they are too tired to drive safely. As a result, many people are severely injured and killed in accidents every year.Fortunately, new technology may be able to prevent a number of these truck accidents. About 12 years ago, an Australian company developed a new system that monitors eye and face movements. A sensor can detect certain movements, such as prolonged eyelid closure, which fall under the category of drowsy or fatigued driving.

Once a problem is detected, an in-cab audible alert is sounded and a notification is sent to a call center in Arizona. Within two minutes, the call center will notify the fleet and give them the opportunity to order a driver off the road if necessary. The system provides a notification, but the fleet has the final say as to what to do with it.Using this system along with a fatigue management program has proven to be successful in reducing the number of accidents related to drowsy driving. The company says that the users of the 4,000 units worldwide have reported a drop in fatigue and distracted driving related accidents by over 70 percent. Eventually a forward facing camera will be added to give fleets more information about the roadways. If this new technology is accepted by the trucking industry, countless tragic accidents may be prevented in the future.

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