Effective and affordable safety technologies have quickly become a requirement in the trucking industry. Auto-adjusting truck systems, aftermarket additions like e-logs (if the federal regulatory bodies get their way, that is), and medical requirements in the form of acceptable driver blood pressure levels are just a few of the systems that have become industry mainstays.Not surprisingly, fatigue-related driver monitoring could be the next piece of safety technology in line. Whether or not it becomes mandatory in the regulatory arena will depend on two things:
1. Effectiveness: The effectiveness of the monitoring technology in predicting fatigue as it relates to crash risk, and
2. Privacy: To what extent privacy law restricts or prevents a mandate (if any).
So, How Do You Monitor And Measure Driver Fatigue?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board recommended in 2013 that the FMCSA, “...may consider requiring devices in the vehicle such as cameras or lane deviation sensors to monitor driver performance in real time.” This is certainly a more concrete signal from the FMCSA that we can expect fatigue evaluation as a standard part of fitness-for-duty assessments to come sooner rather than later.
The FMCSA’s support of fatigue-monitoring devices in commercial vehicles leads some industry experts like former Schneider executive and SmartDrive advisory board member Don Osterberg, to see a more frequent -- perhaps daily, weekly or monthly -- fitness-for-duty assessment as the end result.
Biometric Data Can Improve Driver Safety And Performance
Video camera technology capturing on-highway and in-cab activities correlated with data from other sensors and technology that monitor sleep patterns and fatigue could help improve safety and driver performance. Will the government mandate the collection camera footage and biometric data? Analysts seem to think so. What do you think?
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