One in six drivers have fallen asleep as the wheel - survey finds

13-06-2018 12:00

One in six drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel, according to a new smart witness survey.

A further 42% of motorists have admitted driving while feeling drowsy or were in danger of nodding off, and almost half of those surveyed said they have been a danger to themselves or others on the road as a result of driving while tired.

Some of the most popular ways to wake yourself up whilst tired behind the wheel include driving with the window open, chewing gum, having a coffee, turning up the radio and turning the heating to cold.

Smart witness has devised a new system called the DDC100 that recognises that the driver’s eyes are not on the road and sends out alerts to wake him up. The DDC100 unit is about 8cm long by 7cm tall and sits on the dashboard. It can be fitted to cars, vans and HGV’s. It uses facial recognition to detect when the driver’s eyes have looked away from the road for more than 3 seconds.

When this happens, it sends out an audible alert and when connected to a fleet management system it will also send an alert to the fleet manager, letting them know that the driver is suffering from fatigue. The DDC100 also recognises when a driver is using a mobile phone while driving or any other dangerous distractions.

HGV drivers are in particular susceptible to these dangers due to hectic schedules and increasingly long working hours.

Smart witness chief executive Paul Singh said, “Driver fatigue is one of the biggest killers on our roads and we need to be doing more to raise awareness of this major threat to road safety.”

“Increase pressure on delivery schedules due to the internet has put more pressure on drivers to carrying on driving while drowsy and at risk of nodding off. This is as dangerous to other road users as drink driving or talking on your mobile phone.”

As well as the DDC100 unit, smart witness operates a new smart guard system for fleet clients where all drivers are monitored by a professional call centre in real times to pick up on problems such as fatigue, and deal with the before they cause an accident.

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