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Roadside app for sleepy drivers

23-08-2010

A fatigue calculator developed as an iPhone application is to be installed at service stations, rest stops and truck depots in South Australia to combat driver tiredness on the roads. The touch-screen program allows users to ‘score’ their level of tiredness and receive guidance on their suitability to drive. It is hoped that that the calculator will reduce the level of accidents related to the issue.

Created by Natalie Tindale and Professor Drew Dawson from the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia, the application was developed after Tindale suffered ‘microsleeps’ during a punishing working schedule that required extensive driving.

Tiredness is one of the major causes of traffic accidents worldwide, and comes in various dangerous forms. First of all, tiredness through lack of sleep or regularly poor quality sleep is a common occurrence. The comfortable interior environments of modern vehicles lend a dangerously relaxing element in these cases. Secondly, the monotony of certain types of driving, such as motorway driving or the same route to work day-in day-out, can quickly result in the onset of tiredness when it otherwise wouldn’t have occurred. Reaction times for fatigued drivers are similar to those under the influence of alcohol or drugs, underlining the extreme dangers posed when driving while tired.

As well as appearing at roadsides in Australia, the app will also be debuting in Apple’s iTunes in September.

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