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The silent killer

The silent killer

It is estimated between 10-30 percent of road accidents are attributable to drowsy driving, but it is difficult to determine the exact number because unlike blood alcohol concentration, drowsiness is not currently tested at the roadside.

Micro sleep – the silent killer

Drowsy drivers are often not aware of their condition and can lapse into a ‘micro sleep’ that may last only a few seconds; but long enough to drive off the road and crash.

These crashes tend to be the most severe in terms of injury and death, as the drowsy driver makes no attempt to avoid or prevent the crash because they are asleep.

Often a lack of skid marks on the road indicates drowsiness has been involved, but this can be a subjective measure and Police and accident investigators often have to conduct more thorough investigations into the person’s actions and sleep patterns prior to the accident to determine the root cause.

Real-time drowsiness-detection technology

It is well established drivers tend to be poor judges of their own drowsiness level. The difficulty in assessing one’s own level of drowsiness can be attributed to the impaired mental processing and decision-making abilities characterising the drowsy/fatigued state.

Relying on technology, such as video camera methods, to identify a micro sleep after it has already begun and while the vehicle is likely in motion, introduces significant risk to the driver and those around them.

If the technology has not undergone comprehensive scientific validation, then a company’s risk exposure is further amplified.

It is therefore essential to implement real-time drowsiness-detection monitoring to ensure an objective measurement is provided before an accident happens.

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