Published: 23 October 2018
Author: Peter Claven
New fatigue detecting technology may prevent injuries and deaths on the roads
VicRoads and Monash University are running a new research trial that aims to use hi-tech camera devices that scan people’s eyes to gauge their level of fatigue and determine whether they might be too fatigued to drive.
It has been reported that the testing works by scanning and measuring a person’s pupils to detect their level of tiredness.
It’s understood that the trial will run for 12 months and, once completed, it is possible that the technology could become a regular part of road safety to be used by police in much the same way as current alcohol and drug testing.
Fatigue is a major cause of accidents
Along with drink driving and fatigue, the following road toll statistics highlight that fatigue remains a major cause of accidents on Victorian roads.
- Fatigue results in some 300 serious injuries and approximately 50 deaths every year
- Approximately 20% of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue
- Approximately 30% of severe single vehicle crashes in rural areas involve driver fatigue
- A person that has been awake for 24 hours are 7 times more likely to be involved in an accident and have a similar driving performance to someone who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1 (twice the legal limit in Victoria)
- A driver who nods off for just four seconds whilst travelling at 100km/h will have travelled over 100 metres without the driver being in control
- Fatigue related road accidents cost over $3 billion every year in Australia
Since the late 1980s, the TAC has been focussed on raising awareness of the issue of driver fatigue in an attempt to change public behaviour.
The introduction and promotion of driver reviver sites and repeated encouragement for people to pull over and take a break has no doubt saved lives. However, given the statistics it’s clear more needs to be done, and this research initiative may prove to be the next step forward in combatting fatigue related accidents.
The first group of participants is expected to take part in the driving trial next month and the results of the trial are expected to be available by September 2019.