NHTSA delves into truck driver drowsiness

March 5, 2004
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is starting to explore the issue of driver drowsiness in commercial trucking as part

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is starting to explore the issue of driver drowsiness in commercial trucking as part of a one- to two-year field research project aimed at developing drowsiness detection devices.

"We think quite a few highway crashes are related to this (driver drowsiness) situation," said Joseph Kanianthra, director of NHTSA's office of vehicle safety research. "So the questions we need to answer are: how do we determine when drowsiness occurs, the metrics we need to measure, and what kinds of technology will help us monitor drowsiness."

Kanianthra said NHTSA has completed the basic research to determine what "metrics" indicate drowsinessÑeyelid movement and the full closing of the eyeÑand is now preparing test several systems on the road with the help of fleets and drivers.

"One of our biggest goals is to make sure technology like this isn't intrusive," he said, "because if the technology isn't accepted by the driversÑif it interferes with their ability to perform their jobÑit won't do any good in terms of improving safety. They won't use it or will just turn it off."

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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