The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that at least 100,000 vehicle crashes every year are caused by driver fatigue. In addition, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis has stated that distracted driving accounts for 15 percent of all injury crashes and 10 percent of all fatal crashes. However, truck drivers in Louisiana should take note that there are companies with the technology to combat these two trends.
For example, the fleet-management systems provider Omnitracs offers products that take into account a trucker's hours-of-service data to predict when he or she is at risk for fatigue. Omnitracs continues to improve its algorithms to better detect unsafe driving behaviors, adverse weather and adverse traffic conditions. However, it stresses the need for managers to intervene to determine what the actual cause of fatigue is.
MiX Telematics is a company that offers video cameras and telematics. Recently, it has started utilizing the Guardian System from Seeing Machines, which identifies both fatigue and distraction in real time by looking for drooping eyelids and other eye movements. The system then alerts the trucker to the danger through alarms and seat vibrations.
As for more low-tech tools, the SafeRide app automatically blocks cell phone use while allowing for HOS alerts and navigation updates. Drivers under a "bring-your-own-device" policy can benefit most from this.
Safety tech is mostly optional and can be disengaged by truckers. If a trucker becomes negligent as a result and causes a crash, their company will be held liable. The victim of a collision with an 18-wheeler may want to see a lawyer who can evaluate the case and determine just how much they are eligible for in damages. Medical experts could come in to determine the exact extent of the injuries while investigators can gather evidence against the trucker.