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New Technologies to Prevent Driving While Drowsy

From seatbelts to anti lock brakes, and airbags to rear view cameras, engineers have continued to develop new technologies to keep drivers safe. A number of technologies have begun to enter the market with the hope of reducing one of the riskiest driving habits: driving while drowsy.

Driving While Sleepy Has Deadly Consequences

Driving while drowsy significantly increases a driver’s risk of being involved in an accident. Drowsiness can slow reaction time, decrease awareness, and impair judgment in much the same way as driving under the effects of alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 5,000 to 6,000 vehicle accidents are caused every year by sleepy drivers. Not surprising, those most likely to report driving while sleepy are those who get an insufficient amount of sleep each night.

Emerging Technologies to Help Drivers Stay Awake

Several new technologies have emerged to help keep drivers’ attention focused on the road.

  • Over the ear devices - Some manufacturers have developed wearable products that warn when a driver may be falling asleep. Anyone who has fallen asleep while sitting (on the subway, during a lecture, etc.) knows that one of the first effects of unconsciousness is a change in a person’s position. As someone slips into sleep their head often bobs forward or to the side. Wearable warning devices take advantage of this action. A driver may wear a device over the ear that can detect the angle of the driver’s head. If the driver’s head drops down below a certain angle–say thirty degrees–an alarm may sound to wake up the driver.
  • Vehicle monitoring systems - Some car makers have installed systems to monitor the behaviors of their vehicles and send an alert when those behaviors indicate that a driver has fallen asleep. For example, some vehicles come equipped with cameras that detect lane markers. If a car starts to drift out of its lane an alert sounds to wake up the driver. Such an alert may be an audible sound or a text-message warning displayed on the vehicle’s navigation system. Similar systems monitor the vehicle’s steering, accelerating, and braking to determine when a driver does not seem to have active control over the vehicle.
  • Facial recognition systems - Some carmakers have developed systems for monitoring a driver as opposed to monitoring the vehicle. These systems may include cameras that watch a driver’s face for signs of fatigue. For example, a facial recognition system may note when a driver is blinking more frequently (a sign of sleepiness) or yawning.

Getting Help in Georgia When You’ve Been in an Accident

Although new technologies offer hope in reducing accidents, there will always be some number of poor drivers on the road. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident by the negligent driving of another, it is essential that you contact a skilled Atlanta car accident attorney right away. If you have questions about who may be at fault for your injuries, how to deal with claims adjusters, or whether you may recover for your damages, the personal injury attorneys at Goldstein and Hayes, P.C., can answer your questions and assess your case. We have years of experience helping personal injury victims navigate the Georgia legal system to hold those responsible for their injuries accountable. Contact us today.