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NHTSA to Increase Research, Public Awareness of Drowsy Driving

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/17/2015 Erick Ayapana

The dangerous issue of drowsy driving may not receive as much attention as drunk or distracted driving, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to change that.

Research

While speaking at the Lifesavers National Conference earlier this week, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind admitted that drowsy or fatigued driving is “an elusive behavior which is difficult to measure objectively,” but estimates that up to 20 percent of annual traffic deaths are attributed to the issue.Volvo Safety 14 Queue Assist© Provided by MotorTrend Volvo Safety 14 Queue Assist

Rosekind said the agency will battle the problem in a number of ways. “First, we’re a data-driven agency, and we need better data,” he said. In the coming year, the agency plans to increase its research, while developing public awareness programs similar to “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign that the agency claims is highly successful.

The agency will also look into current and upcoming technologies to help combat drowsy driving. Many automakers already offer technology that detects fatigued drivers and prevents cars from leaving the road way. Mercedes-Benz, for example, offers Attention Assist, which monitors a number of factors like steering wheel movements before alerting the driver that they may be too tired to drive. Mercedes Benz Attention Assist Instrument Cluster Warning© Provided by MotorTrend Mercedes Benz Attention Assist Instrument Cluster Warning

Mercedes also offers Active Lane Keeping Assist, which will automatically takeover steering duties if it detects the vehicle leaving its unintended lane or path. Autonomous driving technology, however, will likely gain more support from the NHTSA as the best solution to prevent accidents and deaths from drowsy driving.

Source: NHTSA

Hyundai Highway Driving Assistant System© Provided by MotorTrend Hyundai Highway Driving Assistant System
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