To an extent, we all know what truck drivers have to face when hauling a load. It goes without saying that long hours of being behind the wheel are in the job description. Fatigue and drowsiness come with these long hours which can result in a serious and sometimes fatal accident. However, the industry is beginning to make strides in using technology to make us all safer.
According to Daniel Bongers, Chief Technology Officer of SmartCap, trucking companies like to wait and see how other industries react to new technology trends since they typically run on thin margins. SmartCap is an Australian-based company that specializes in a number of industrial safety products. This industry, which includes 3.5 million people in the United States, has been focused on a new law that requires electronic logging devices on commercial trucks. This is to ensure that drivers don’t surpass the legal amount of time per day, and that they take required breaks to reduce the fatigue.
The SmartCap device is a headband that fits into trucker’s cap or other headgear. This device measures electronic brain waves and reads them to measure fatigue and alertness. It will then notify the driver and a central monitoring system if the driver is drowsy. A few case studies were given to drivers using SmartCap and have proven that the number of fatigue alerts lessen through drivers from learning how to recognize their own drowsy warning signs and taking the necessary precautions to prevent them.
SmartCap is just a band-aid for the problem facing the industry. It is a step in the right direction, but we must be cognizant to other external factors that can cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel of a truck. Some of these factors are how drivers are paid, the efficiency of the systems, and layover periods during the loading process. With incentives given to the driver for faster loading, it can create more time in the driver’s road hours which can reduce the longer drive times that are needed to make deadlines. With devices like SmartCap, in collaboration with incentive plans, we can be inclined to see the number of truck accidents decrease from a driver’s lack of rest.