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Australian Report Says Technology Could Help Predict Driver Fatigue

October 24, 2000

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A recent Australian study has revealed that dashboard cameras and devices used to measure vehicle wandering might be useful to detect fatigue among truck drivers.

According to the Associated Press, a recent report by the National Road Transport Commission suggests that devices in truck cabs could be used as part of an overall approach to fatigue management. However, more development and validation of the technology is needed.
Four types of new technology were investigated, including devices designed to test alertness before driving, wrist monitors to measure activity levels, vehicle devices to measure lane wandering, and speed variation and cameras with infra-red beams to detect eye, face, head and brain activity.
NRTC deputy chairman Rae Taylor said the technologies wouldn’t be able to actually prevent fatigue, just aim to predict or detect it.
"Even if a warning is sounded and the driver responds, there is currently no effective technique to overcome fatigue when driving," Taylor said. "Winding down the window or turning up the radio provide temporary benefit at best. The only effective solution is to stop and sleep, which is not always possible."
Professor Laurence Hartley, an arranger of the study, said the use of fatigue prediction or detection technology could even make matters worse if drivers relied solely on the new devices rather than their own fatigue management strategies.

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