The health services provider Austin Health and the Institute for Breathing and Sleep joined together to develop a roadside test that will identify tired drivers, and keep them off the road.
The result of the collaboration was ‘smart glasses’ - they track eye movements and measure the length of blinks. The researchers hope the product will help police ‘dramatically reduce fatigue-related road death’.
As part of the project, researchers studied drowsiness in night-shift workers during driving tests and found a tenfold increase in ‘microsleeps' and double the number of lane crossings. They also found drivers struggled to keep their eyes open and had more trouble staying in the middle of a lane.
The researchers believe the technology could hold the key to changing driver behaviour toward getting behind-the-wheel while tired, in the same way the breathalyser changed attitudes towards drink-driving.
DtT figures show that during 2015, fatigue was recorded by police as a contributory factor in 4% of fatal accidents and 2% of serious injury accidents in the UK.
However, the UK’s Road Safety Observatory suggests that sleep-related collisions are under-reported and in fact are more likely to account for 16% to 20% of all collisions.