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New Technology May Help Prevent Trucking Accidents

Front of a Semi Truck

Trucking professionals will tell you that the majority of truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue. In an interview with The New York Times (NYT), one fleet manager estimated that this fatigue was responsible for 70% of long-haul crashes experienced by his drivers. Luckily, several innovative systems have emerged to identify drowsiness before it leads to a collision.

Glasses and Headsets

To prevent truck drivers from falling asleep at the wheel, many companies have started experimenting with biometric technology. Optalert glasses, for example, use an LED light monitor to measure drivers’ blinking. When eyelids stay down too long, alarms and notifications will go off on the dash-mounted monitor. Similarly, a headset by Maven Machines detects where a driver is looking. Fatigued drivers will check their mirrors less frequently and those who are falling asleep will demonstrate a series of head bobs and jerks beforehand. Patented as the Co-Pilot™, this headset also coaches drivers on bad behaviors like hard braking and gives the driver navigation instructions, weather updates, and other audible messages.

Additionally, an Australian company named SmartCap designed its titular device as a headband that fits into trucker’s hats and beanies. This high-tech tool measures electronic brainwaves to evaluate a driver’s alertness or fatigue and notifies them if they seem drowsy. Sometimes, drivers get a notification before they even start to exhibit the signs of drowsy driving (yawning, blinking, etc.)

Getting alerts while they drive can remind drivers to wake themselves up. Drivers might respond to an alert by stopping for a quick walk, eating a snack, drinking water, or pulling over for a nap. SmartCap noticed that drivers who regularly use its device get fewer alerts, meaning the technology can help drivers optimize their schedules and/or recognize signs of drowsiness in themselves.


Other devices watch drivers and the road. The Guardian from Seeing Machines, for instance, tracks drivers’ faces and gazes. When they fail to meet safety parameters, the dash-mounted camera plays audio alarms, causes their seats to vibrate, and even notifies their employers.

Some trucking companies connect camera and software systems to their trucks and share the footage with insurance companies, as well. Most of these systems record 10 seconds inside and outside of the vehicle before and after “unusual events,” like speeding up, slamming on the brakes, or making sharp turns. Having footage of both the driver and the road in these instances can help determine fault in trucking accidents.

Other Solutions

Some wearable biometric tech, like Fatigue Science software, tracks sleep patterns to predict when a driver will feel tired. In theory, this data would allow companies to adjust shift schedules and provide additional sleep resources to their employees.

Unfortunately, some experts don’t think this will happen and believe the problem of driver fatigue stems from company policies, to begin with. One researcher interviewed by the NYT says drivers need to be paid better and have more efficient systems in place to help them do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Final Thoughts

While new technology might help prevent truck accidents related to drowsy driving, they may be a “band-aid” for structural problems within the trucking industry.

Some truck accidents are caused by fatigue, but others are caused by the negligence of shipping companies. In either of these situations, an accident with an innocent passenger vehicle is not the other driver’s fault.

If you or someone you love has been harmed in a truck accident, contact the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli today. With over 2 decades of legal experience, our experienced attorney can help you get the resources you need to recover.

Call us 24/7 at (516) 628-6402 to schedule a free consultation.

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