A Griffith University research trial involves truckies sporting biometric vests, to monitor how fatigue impacts the way they drive. The vests, normally used by elite athletes, monitor physical responses such as heart rate and breathing rate while driving or resting.

It’s hoped data collected can be used to help predict and therefore prevent fatigue-related crashes. The research team involves five senior academics, including an expert on driver fatigue.

The project’s senior research assistant, Dr Caroline Robertson, explained, “Academics from Griffith University identified a need for research exploring psychological, physiological and in-vehicle data monitoring predictors of fatigue in professional drivers. So far no one has examined these three factors in one model of fatigue, but we know that they all independently play a part in drowsy driving.”

There are just 40 drivers taking part so far, but researchers are hopeful that more truckies will sign up, with the goal being to get 250 drivers involved.

Drivers wear Hexoskin biometric vests for a total of six days: five days driving at work and on one day off so the team can assess how well they recover after a period of work.

“The Hexoskins are biometric shirts which allow us to measure heart rate and breathing responses. This data can give us an indication of how stressed or tired someone is,” Robertson said.

“We then overlay this data with the other data we are collecting, the psychological and in-vehicle data, to form a picture of what is happening when a driver is fatigued. In vehicle monitoring data includes things like lane positioning, distance from other vehicles and steering wheel angle.

“Once we have all this data and have undergone the analysis, we will be able to inform companies which factors contribute most to fatigue but occur prior to a safety incident occurring.”

Source: OHSIntros on Facebook, 16 August 2022

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