Researchers are working with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to improve the safety of Australian heavy vehicle road users.
Researchers are working with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to improve the safety of Australian heavy vehicle road users.

Preventing road deaths through better use of fatigue tech

A SERIES of recommendations by CQUniversity researchers will be used to update the way fatigue detection technology is managed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and by road transport companies – to improve the safety of all Australian heavy vehicle drivers.

Recognising that fatigue detection is such a new technology, and lacking guidelines, Professor Drew Dawson and Dr Madeline Sprajcer carried out their research alongside the NHVR and road freight and passenger transport companies.

Their partner in this project was Andrew Higginson (of HGH Consultants).

“Many of these drivers are on the road for long periods of time or overnight – which can lead to fatigue,” says Dr Sprajcer.

“Some companies use fatigue detection technology to help keep drivers (and other road users) safe, including options such as driver-facing cameras or eye glasses (designed to track eye movements), caps or headbands to track brain activity, or technology that monitors driving behaviour (e.g. harsh braking).

“The technology sends send alerts when drivers are too tired – making fatigue-related accidents far less likely.

“Because this technology is so new, there are no guidelines for drivers and road transport companies to follow yet – they’re not sure how to use it within their companies, and what this might mean from a regulatory perspective. This is where we came in with our CQUni study.

“We worked with the regulator, as well as a number of road freight and passenger transport companies, to better understand how fatigue detection technology is used at the moment. We also wanted to get industry input on how the regulator should manage it in the future.

“We provided a series of recommendations that will be used to update the way fatigue detection technology is managed by the regulator and by road transport companies – to improve the safety of all Australian heavy vehicle drivers.”

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