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New Car Technology May Help Prevent Driver Fatigue Accidents

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Illinois injury attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer, Illinois personal injury lawyer,The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drivers who are drowsy behind the wheel. Driver fatigue is a major problem in the state of Illinois and all across the nation, responsible for 72,000 crashes and 44,000 injuries in the year 2013 alone, and those numbers are likely grossly underestimated.

Root Causes of Driver Fatigue

Everyone is at risk for experiencing driver fatigue when they are overly tired or intoxicated, although statistics suggest that commercial drivers are particularly at risk for operating a vehicle while drowsy. Tow truck, tractor trailer, and bus drivers of all kinds are especially vulnerable, as long and irregular hours tend to wear on the body’s natural sleep rhythms, endangering the ability to remain alert and safe behind the wheel. Other root causes for drowsy driving include a general lack of sleep, working night shifts or excessively long hours, using medications that cause drowsiness, and untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.

Promising Technology Developments

With the overwhelming statistics that surround problematic driver fatigue, car manufacturers have taken note and are working together with technology companies to create mechanisms that offer the capability to detect when a driver is experiencing dangerous fatigue. Gadgets such as driver fatigue alarms already exist on the market, which monitor your head movements and produce an alarm to alert you when you begin nodding off, but the transportation industry has been taking steps to further address the need for driver fatigue alert systems in vehicles.

Leading car manufacturers in Europe and Japan are already working with companies like Plessey Semiconductors to integrate sensors that can be embedded into the seats of cars that detect the driver’s ECG, which detects heart rate variability. This information helps measure a driver’s heart rate activity.

For example, when the driver’s heart rate slows down significantly, the sensor indicates the rapid change in heartbeat patterns and is able to bring the change to the driver’s attention, preventing imminent collision. Drivers will likely have to wait a while to see the technology fully surface, but the unveiling of models that showcase the feature is on the horizon, with expected debuts from luxury car markets, first.

If you have experienced a collision due to driver fatigue firsthand, you need to consult with a skilled Lake County car accident attorney to protect your rights in a court of law. Call Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. today at 847-662-3303 for a personal consultation.




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