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Alternative technologies to help drowsy drivers

Indeed, distracted driving (i.e. texting while driving) has long become a national safety issue, but drowsy driving can be equally as dangerous, yet it does not receive the same attention. Indeed, a number of technological advancements may help to prevent these types of accidents, but there are some who believe that the newest technologies may not be as helpful.

Instead, researchers at Washington State University consider their invention to be a better alternative. Their concept involves a drowsy driver detection system that analyzes unusual movements from the steering wheel that are common when a driver begins to fall asleep. When these movements are detected, the system will alert the driver. 

The findings were based on a 10 day experiment that measured a number of levels for driver fatigue. While trying to find better ways to detect drowsiness while behind the wheel, their analysis led them to steering wheel movements as the best predictor.

Further, the researchers found that their system is likely to be cheaper and easier to install on existing vehicles, which would alleviate the need to purchase a new car with the newest technologies. For those who really want a new car, it could be an upgrade accessory or as an after-market addition.

It remains to be seen how many drivers in California will add this technology when it becomes available, or if manufacturers will include it on upcoming models as standard safety equipment. Regardless, driving while alert and awake exemplifies the duty to use reasonable care while driving.

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