The number of people who fall asleep while driving could be dramatically reduced – thanks to telematics.
Over the past 12 months as many as one in 10 drivers has nodded off, according to research by LV= car insurance.
However, it emerged this week that some of the latest, most sophisticated in-vehicle systems can sense when a driver is drowsy and then trigger an alarm.
Kjell Anderton, director of TrackCompare, said: “These systems, which should be regarded as the very last line of defence, could be life savers – which, I’m sure, is the reason so many fleet operators have begun asking us about them. We’ve had numerous approaches over the past month or so and expect numbers to increase considerably over coming months.
“Of course, drivers should always ensure they remain fresh and alert behind the wheel and take regular breaks.”
One system, DS-IVS, by Seeing Machines, uses a small console-mounted camera which tracks the driver’s eye behaviour, and detects drowsiness and ‘micro sleeps’ the ‘instant’ they occur.
Audio and seat vibration alarms then alert the driver.
According to Seeing Machines, its DSS system works equally well at night or during the day, and whether or not a driver is wearing glasses.
The research and its findings
Of the 3.4million motorists who admitted dozing behind the wheel, one in 20 (5%) said they had had an accident – and almost a third (29%) said they had had swerved or gone off the road.
- Almost a third of respondents (28%) confessed to getting into their car and driving while drowsy.
- A fifth (19) said they had hardly been able to keep their eyes open.
- Most drivers gave the monotony of motorways and dual carriageways combined with a lack of sleep as the main reasons they dozed. Others cited long distances travelled to reach a holiday destination, being tired after work or the effects of medication.
- More than half (56%) said they fell asleep at the wheel between 8pm and 6am.
- Police figures acquired by LV= car insurance using a Freedom of Information request revealed that more than 3,350 fatigue-related road accidents were recorded in the past five years. However, as just 15 police forces provided details, the true figure is thought to be nearer 11,000.
Launched in 2009, TrackCompare.co.uk has grown quickly to become the UK’s leading vehicle tracking website, representing more than 50 tracking and telematics companies across a wide range of technologies.
The company’s online service is backed by a team of experienced fleet consultants, who help more than 2,000 new fleets every month.
For further information contact Kjell Anderton, TrackCompare.co.uk, Weston Centre, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex, C02 8JX. Tel 0800 096 0400.