Smart specs a wake-up call for drowsy drivers

Special glasses that monitor driver tiredness sound like science fiction but are, in fact, a reality. Developed by Australian company Optalert, the smart specs have reportedly proven a success by helping to keep fatigue-prone Western Australian mining haulage drivers on the straight and narrow.

Clearly the fatigue management glasses could have the potential to assist with combating the issue of driver fatigue in the road freight industry right across the whole country.

When a person begins to get tired, their eyelid and eye muscle movement starts to slow down. The Optalert system works by measuring the operator’s eyelid movement 500 times a second using a tiny invisible LED built into the glasses frame, which is connected to a small computer processor mounted on the dashboard.

A driver receives an ongoing alertness score and a warning if the system detects signs of fatigue. So in the event of a medium-risk alert, they must pull over for a break, hydrate and eat. A high-risk alert requires a driver to notify their supervisor and have a 10 to 20 minute sleep.

“Optalert’s monitoring system picks up on the physiological warning signs of very early onset drowsiness, often well in advance of the operator feeling the effects,” said Optalert.

“It is this real time feedback that has proven to change the behaviour of operators by providing information influencing their level of alertness while encouraging open conversation around safety.”

The glasses lens colour can be changed to suit different driving conditions, including night-time, and there is also a special lens adaptor for users who require prescription driving glasses.

Visit the Optalert website for more information.

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