Bridging the Tech Gap: Onboard Safety Monitoring Tracks Drivers’ Alertness

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Bridging the Tech Gap: Onboard Safety Monitoring Tracks Drivers’ Alertness

Stephanie Morgan, a big rig driver, witnessed a horrific accident in late October. The company she works for is one of many that employ an Onboard Safety Monitoring (OBSM) System. Her sudden braking to avoid the accident alerted a truck-safety monitoring company, which automatically notified her boss’s office in Omaha, Nebraska. The data from the OBSM helped authorities to pinpoint the exact time and circumstances of the accident.

What is Behavior-Based Safety?

According to Aubrey Daniels International, a workplace performance company, “Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) is the application of scientific behavior principles to modifying safety-related behaviors and reducing accidents and injuries. In the context of driving safety, this means changing drivers’ risky behaviors and styles, thereby reducing road risks, crashes, and traffic violations. In turn, this reduces injuries, property damage, liability, legal penalties, and financial loss.”

Current OBSM systems measure things like speed, acceleration, and braking force. Depending on the type of system, other factors like tailgating, close approaches, or rollover risks can be recognized. At the moment, all the physical indicators of a driving style can be monitored – but what if we could also monitor the state of the driver?

An emerging technology could change the game for commercial truck safety. According to Performance Management eZine, the system, known as Driver Alertness Monitoring, is designed to measure driver status and performance and provide real-time feedback. This feedback “facilitates performance by convincing drivers to stop for rest and, more importantly, change their lifestyle choices to get more sleep.”

In addition to maximizing safety, and thus profit, for commercial trucking companies, developing Driver Alertness Monitoring systems could have an incredible effect on all motorists. Deploying a system that alerts you when you are tired or distracted could save countless lives on our nation’s roadways.

This system isn’t a pipedream; it’s almost a reality. Our previous article about facial recognition software that can identify emotions revealed how such systems aren’t just in development, but are functioning in the real world. Extrapolating information about alertness is a small step from recognizing emotions from facial expression.

While this technology is just around the corner, deploying it in the real world is another matter altogether. There is a lack of federal regulation regarding the trucking industry, and the US Government is notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. Until these devices are commonplace, motorists will continue to suffer the consequences of an under-regulated trucking industry. If you or someone you know has been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation in Nashville, Gallatin or Knoxville.