Driver tiredness is one of the biggest threats on our roads at the moment. Driver tiredness claims thousands of lives every year – more than drink driving. If you don’t believe us, consider this:
- Almost 20% of major accidents on the road are sleep-related
- Sleep-related accidents are more likely than others to result in a fatality or serious injury
- Peak times for accidents are in the early hours and after lunch
- Men under 30 have the highest risk of falling asleep at the wheel
- About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles
So how can we take action to reduce the number of sleep-related accidents caused by professional HGV drivers?
So How Would A Smartphone Help?
Unfortunately, there is no special secret to feeling well rested behind the wheel. All you can do there is make sure you are sleeping properly, drinking enough water and taking regular breaks from your job. All of which is the driver’s responsibility and nothing to do with a smartphone. But what we can do is put measures in place to detect when a driver is starting to get tired, so that they can get off the road and rest before they cause an accident. Cue Profession Cheung Yiu-Ming. Professor Yiu-Ming has developed a smartphone app that utilises the onboard dashcam to continually analyse the drivers face for key signs of tiredness. These signs include drooping eyes, slumping shoulders and yawning mouths. If any of these signs are detected, a (rather loud) alarm will sound, notifying the driver that they need to stop driving and refresh themselves. It’s then up to the driver how they will do that. But the important element is that an impartial party can inform the driver when they are getting too tired to drive.
What Does This Mean?
At the moment, dashcams are not a legal requirement, however, most HGVs have them installed for insurance and safety reasons. These cameras are facing out of the front windscreen (as well as being attached to the rear and sides in many cases) in order to capture footage of any accidents. This way, the driver is able to prove who was at fault, beyond a shadow of a doubt. But in this scenario, it would require a camera to be facing inwardly, towards the driver, which represents a slightly higher level of monitoring than drivers are typically used to. On the one hand, this footage is likely to be incredibly dull to watch, but it can provide invaluable information to haulage companies about their driver’s distraction and tiredness. It also means that haulage companies can take proactive, preventative measures against driver tiredness, rather than a passive, analytical approach. While we do anticipate some pushback on this (after all, having a camera pointed at your face while you work is a little invasive), we think it will prove a life-saving tool.
At HGV Training Cost, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality HGV driver training to every driver that passes through our doors. This includes rigorous training on driver tiredness, the regulations they need to abide by to ensure they aren’t driving tired, and the risks of driving HGV’s while drowsy. We are incredibly excited about this new app (which will be hitting the smartphone stores soon), and will definitely be including it in our rotation of tools to help aspiring HGV drivers do the best job they can. For more information, please just get in touch with us today.