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Technology could help us stay awake at the wheel

Truck drivers on the long haul are driving for days on end across the country. Even though federal regulations require them to take regular stops for rest and sleep -- this does not always mean the trucker is actually sleeping during these times. Sometimes, these guys are driving on very little sleep and it results in catastrophic and deadly collisions when they pass out behind the wheel.

A new wearable technology could be the answer. SmartCap Technologies -- a company based in Australia has invented a "smart cap," which detects when a truck driver starts to get drowsy. At the first hint of drowsiness, which it detects by monitoring the trucker's brain waves, the SmartCap sounds an alarm on the trucker's cell phone. It will even alert the dispatcher or supervisor if the sleep danger is particularly extreme.

The SmartCap technology was originally created for mining truck drivers in the Australian outback, who operate vehicles the size of houses. If one of these truckers falls into a mini-drowse state, it could result in loss of life and catastrophic damages. However, the technology works excellently for conventional truck drivers too, and it could be effectively applied to the roadways in the United States.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Alabama drivers lose their lives as a result of a fatigued truck driver, who falls asleep at the wheel. Although, injured drivers and passengers -- and family members of individuals who die -- can pursue powerful claims for financial restitution against the fatigued truck driver and the trucking company responsible for the crash, no amount of money or litigation can right such a tragedy. As such, it is our hope that future technology will be used to effectively reduce the risks associated with driver fatigue and preemptively save the lives of the ones we love.

Source:, "What to Wear to Work? Soon, a Tiny Computer," Virginia Postrel, July 06, 2016

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