SYDNEY, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — Truck drivers in Australia who show signs of falling asleep will now be given a wake up call thanks to new technology to be fitted in certain heavy vehicles.
Vehicles can now be fitted with an infrared device which focuses on driver’s faces to determine if they shut their eyes or divert attention away from the road, in which case their seat will vibrate and an alarm will sound to wake them up.
Toll Group has installed 76 of the devices across its fleet and company spokesman Jacques van Niekerk said on Monday that the initiative is already working.
“We have never had an accident so far where people have fallen asleep where we have the equipment on board,” Niekerk said.
“We get a lot of alerts as we go on, seven alerts in the past week.”
If a driver’s device is triggered they will receive a call to stop for a mandatory 30 minute break, as well as having to answer a series of questions relating to their current driving ability and potential impairments.
They will then be monitored for the rest of their trip and if they continue to trigger the device, a replacement driver may be sent to take over for them.
Although not all participants are happy about the changes with some drivers viewing the additional technology as a breach of their privacy, Niekerk said that the initiative is purely about safety.
“For drivers it is hard to understand that we are not using it to spy on them, or to look at them, but we have more interesting things to do than sit and watch you drive a truck.”