Big brother is watching over truckies with new tech
FATIGUE and distraction are the two biggest concerns for Jim Pearson and his team at Jim Pearson Transport. But hopefully everyone can rest a little easier thanks to new technology keeping watch over drivers while they're out on the road.
"We've got one in every truck," Mr Pearson said.
"It's a big investment but it's worth it for the peace of mind."
The system, dubbed 'The Guardian' by its creator Seeing Machines, measures the driver's head position and eye closure and, when safety parameters are exceeded, audio alarms and seat vibration are immediately activated.
"It's like having someone in the cab with you, constantly reminding you if you drift off," Mr Pearson said.
"It even alerts you if you look away too long. The seat will vibrate, and an alarm will go off."
Mr Pearson said they have had the system for approximately 12 months and had already found it to be worth the investment.
"It's always communicating fatigue and distraction events to us and it's good to know what's going on. If a driver has a fatigue event, it will instantly report it," he said.
"It's also good because there's a number of people out there who suffer from sleep apnoea and you don't know they have it without that technology. But now, we can find out who they are and can get them treatment for the problem."
This technology might sound like it's straight out of George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, but The Guardian has intervened in more than 70,000 fatigue events and detected more than 3 million distraction events since being adopted by the industry.
The Guardian expert for Connect Source, Seeing Machines Mick Carter shared some unsettling results recorded by the technology at last month's Brisbane Truck Show, including one driver (not JP Transport ) filmed dozing for almost six seconds.
"He was asleep for 5.95 seconds while driving at 100km/h, that's 400 metres with his eyes shut and he had absolutely no idea," Mr Carter said.
"He got very emotional. His reputation as a truck professional was being challenged and threatened because here he was snoozing at 100km/h with a fully-loaded truck up the Pacific Highway. So he said 'can you please turn on the seat vibration immediately, I don't want to drive like that', and he walked out and told the other drivers all of us need this thing."