A high-tech device called the Driver Fatigue Monitor (DFM) is being tested on eight fleet vehicles of a contract carriage and transit company in Neville Island, Pa.
The DFM, marketed by Pittsburgh-based Attention Technology Inc., mounts on the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel. The device has a compact video-based sensor that measures slow eyelid closure associated with drowsiness. If the DFM identifies that the driver is drowsy, the unit sounds an audible alert.
The unit is being tested with fleet drivers for Distribution Technologies Inc. (DistTech), a Cleveland-based transit and contract carriage company, according to a statement by the company.
Dr. Richard Grace, CEO and Founder of Attention Technology, claims that the DFM can alert drivers to impending fatigue an hour before a potentially dangerous situation. He says the device is the result of more than 10 years of research, design and testing at Carnegie Mellon University and has been validated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as being able to accurately measure drowsiness.
DistTech is in the process of evaluating the DFM based on driver feedback and acceptance and is considering installing the unit in all of its vehicles system-wide. The initial response from the drivers testing the device in Neville Island has been overwhelmingly positive, according to the company. Because the DFM is portable and can be mounted in just minutes, some of the drivers are also using the units in their cars on the way to and from the terminal, especially at night.