It’s not going to happen soon, but are you ready for roadside fatigue testing? There have been a number of technological developments which mean the possibility of a road enforcement officer being able to check to see if a driver is fit to drive and not suffering from fatigue, could become a reality.
Systems able to trace eye movements and blink intervals have been around for nearly twenty years but the products on the market have either been expensive or difficult to manage. This is a high technology field with a lot of top end kit involved, working in a robust and unforgiving environment, the truck cabin.
Some big operators in Australia, including some involved in the mining industry invested in glasses which the driver could wear and which monitored eye movement and blinking. These have to be individually calibrated to the particular driver in order to get accurate results.
The driver has to wear the glasses all of the time they are behind the wheel and will then get a warning if the glasses’ monitoring system detects shorter blink intervals or wandering concentration. These alarms will get more stringent as the fatigue gets more pronounced.
It is this basic idea which has been developed further by sleep researchers from the Austin Health and Institute for Breathing and Sleep in Victoria. They have taken the smart glasses, which detect eye movement, blink timing and how the driver scans the road ahead and are taking them a step further.
The researchers are heading down the road of a one size fits all solution. If the system does not need individual driver calibration, then roadside enforcement officers would be able to assess the fatigue of a truck driver in much the same way as the breathalyser detect alcohol levels in the blood.