Road / Rail / Flight Transport

Drowsiness doesn’t discriminate.

Travelling alone

Truck and train drivers are often driving by themselves, without another person to talk to and help keep them stay alert. They have no one to swap driving with or who could potentially identify the signs of drowsiness.Several studies have pointed to a large percentage of the population admitting to drowsy driving in the past year and being a professional driver does not exempt someone from this state; indeed the pressures of deadlines add to the possibility of ignoring how one feels and continuing on regardless.

 Travelling long distances to and from a shift

Not only must drivers and pilots remain vigilant throughout a long and demanding shift, but they must also stay alert while they are travelling home at the end of a shift. This journey might add another two hours to an already-lengthy 10-hour day.

Travelling long distances during a shift

Pilots, truck, coach, bus and rail drivers all fall under the category facing long work distances each shift.For drivers and pilots, they can be moving across states or even the country, for many hours at a time. Tight deadlines can encourage drivers to push themselves beyond their limits such as driving through the night or skipping their assigned rest break.


The circadian rhythm is instrumental in controlling the body’s internal “clock”. This natural regulator of sleeping patterns tells our bodies when it is time to fall asleep at night, and when to start waking up in the morning.

Most drowsiness-related incidents occur between certain time periods as outlined below:


A seemingly ordinary time of the day, where kids are finishing school and you’re looking forward to that 5pm kick-off.

The 3pm lull is real, and there is an explanation for your slump in attention and alertness.

It’s not you being lazy; it’s a natural release of melatonin that makes you want to take a nap. It is, in fact, the same thing that happens before bedtime, although on a smaller scale.

As you age, melatonin levels do begin to decrease, however the time in which it is released and reaches its peak generally remains the same; between 11pm and 7am.


By this time, the body’s natural melatonin levels have risen, signalling sleep. This is when the body starts preparing for sleep, and if you’re in the middle of a shift, you’re working hard to fight this.


This is a common time period where many overnight shifts end. Driving home after a long shift during this time is one of the most dangerous times for road accidents involving drowsiness.

The Technology

Optalertintroduced the term blepharometry to describe their unique objective measurement of eye and eyelid movements.  When combined with the use of patented algorithms,it accurately quantifies drowsiness or wakefulness, against the scientifically validated Johns Drowsiness Scale (JDS).This future-proofed approach to measuring drowsiness can predict drowsiness up to 15-20 minutes prior to the onset of performance failure and providing the utmost protection for drivers.

Using infrared oculography, infrared light, which is invisible to the user, illuminates the upper eyelid.  A sensor detects the reflection of IR light from the eyelids and an on-board processor digitises the reflections at 500 times per second. The sensor technology is mounted inside glasses frames where sunglasses or prescription lenses can be fitted.  Glasses frames were chosen to house the sensors to make them as unobtrusive as possible and to ensure the patient is not restricted in their movements.

Each pair of glasses goes through a 1-time fitment process to ensure the device is precisely fitted to the patient. The fitment process takes ~5-10 minutes for trained technicians to perform.  The glasses are simple to use and available in wired or wireless format, depending on the application used.

 Optalert Mining/Transport Industry Products

1. MarcinButlewski et al, Procedia Manufacturing 3 ( 2015 ) 4732 – 4739