Any sort of trucking accident has the potential of causing significant damage. This makes sense considering semitrailers can weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles.
However, it is not just the weight of these large vehicles that contribute to devastating collisions. Driver fatigue is a common problem in the trucking industry, even if it is underreported.
Drowsy driving risks the safety of everyone on the road
Federal hours-of-service regulations limit how long truckers can drive without taking a break. Unfortunately, many truckers feel pressured to violate these regulations. This and other risk factors can lead to truckers driving when they are drowsy or sleep deprived.
If a trucker falls asleep at the wheel, there is a good chance he or she will cause a collision. Even if the trucker does not fall asleep, sleep deprivation can impair his or her driving abilities in other ways. Sleep deprivation can make it more difficult to:
- Pay attention to the road
- React quickly
- Make good decisions
New technology can alert drivers who become too tired
Technology was created to target this problem. One of the earliest systems available to monitor for drowsy driving was a driver-facing camera that detected eyelid and head positions. However, this product raised privacy concerns.
Now, a variety of companies have created wearable technology to fill the void. Optalert developed glasses that measures a driver’s blinks. Maven Machines developed a headset that detects where a driver is looking, as well as head bobs and jerks. SmartCap developed a headband that fits into a variety of hats and measures electronic brain waves.
Few truckers currently use these technologies, even though they have the potential to prevent many drowsy driving collisions from ever occurring. Although it isn’t common now, the use of these technologies could become more common in the future.