While driving under the influence and distracted driving remain hazards on the country’s highways, the problem of driving while tired occurs far too often. According to some estimates, falling asleep while behind the wheel causes 6,000 deaths annually in the US. Though the trucking industry has strict standards regulating the maximum time a driver can operate at a given time, there is no regulation in Ocean, NJ, for other drivers, including the normal car or SUV driver.
However, a new device may reduce this number. A burgeoning startup company has developed an electronic wristband that can detect when the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel. Unlike lane-departure warning systems that send an audible signal when the driver leaves the roadway, this device uses an electronic stimulus to wake the weary driver.
This wrist-worn safety apparatus monitors both the heart rate and the perspiration secretion of the user. Because the heart rate normally drops when a person falls asleep, it will check for a reduction in heart rate. If it drops 10 beats per minute, the machine will create a vibrating signal to the driver’s wrist. The vibration will be similar to those used in electronic pagers or smart phones. If the rate drops another 10 beats, a small electronic shock is transmitted. According to the company, the electric current is too weak to cause any damage to the driver.
The device will also measure skin conductance because the body’s temperature normally drops when falling asleep. If the level drops, the same vibration and electronic current is used to alert the individual wearing it. When the machine becomes available, it will most likely be priced under $150.
Those who have suffered a personal injury due to a drowsy or distracted driver may wish to consult with an attorney. He or she may be able to help the plaintiff obtain compensation for medical bills or loss of income.