Fatigued driving is one of the biggest dangers on the road today, but a new product being worked on by the Biomechanics Institute in Valencia, Spain, could help make it a thing of the past.
Ground-breaking technology called the HARKEN system is being developed by scientists at the Institute to alert tired drivers before their drowsiness reaches dangerous levels.
The device employs a censor knitted into the seatbelt which sounds an alarm if your body shows signs of being tired, such as a decreased heart rate or slower breathing, and displays the warning on an onboard computer.
Thanks to innovative, electric textile martial embedded in the seatbelt and seat cover, the device cancels out the motion of the car and will be virtually undetectable by the user, according to developers.
Since this system alerts drivers in advance with plenty of time to switch drivers or pull over for a snooze, this could revolutionize road safety and effectively quantify a previously unmeasurable danger.
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that accidents involving drowsy driving are 50 percent more likely to result in injury, as they tend to be high speed impacts, since a driver who’s falling asleep cannot adequately brake or swerve to avoid impact.
The NHTSA says there are more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. Since drowsy driving is suspected to be a severely underreported cause of crashes, this number is probably higher.
Drivers most at risk for sleepy driving are those on long trips and monotonous roads like highways, according to research.