Categories: News

Road safety: Australia is working on a test to detect fatigue

Drowsy driving is one of the main problems in road safety. Researchers then want to create a test to detect it.

Every year, thousands of accidents are related to driver drowsiness. In France, one in three accidents is associated with fatigue at the wheel. In terms of road safety, the only real solution to this problem is for drivers to take breaks at motorway rest areas.

However, it is difficult to control the state of drowsiness of a driver and to force him to stop to avoid disaster. In Australia, a team of researchers from Monash University in Melbourne is trying to solve this difficulty by developing a fatigue detection test.

Australian researchers are working on creating a test to detect fatigue

“If we look at the main factors of road accidents, alcohol is one, speed is another, and fatigue is yet another”explained Clare Anderson, a professor at Monash University in Melbourne, to journalists from The Guardian. “Even though the solution to fatigue is simple, sleep, our ability to solve the problem is reduced because we don’t have a tool to measure it like alcohol”.

According to the team that Clare Anderson is part of, it would be possible to fix a threshold in terms of fatigue, as well as drunk driving. This threshold would be assessed in terms of the amount of prior sleep necessary. If it is not respected, the driver could thus be considered as ” drunk “. But how to set this threshold?

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A test based on biomarkers

To develop the test, researchers at monash university were based on biomarkers. They identified five that help determine how long an individual has been awake. “These biomarkers are closely related to how long a person is awake and are consistent from adult to adult. Some of them are lipids, some are produced in the gut, so they come from different parts of the body – which is interesting, as sleep is implicated in a number of health issues.”

However, from what threshold must we consider that a motorist is too tired to drive ? The tolerance could be set at 4 or 5 hours of sleep before driving. Below these limits, driving would become too dangerous. The results of their research were published in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep. The study concludes with a 90% accuracy of this test.

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