A new fatigue-warning product could help drivers avoid accidents by tracking eye blinks, the Associated Press reports. The device mounts on the dashboard and uses infrared technology to monitor the length between the driver’s eye blinks. The device beeps once per second when the eye is closed. Other monitors are already on the market. SleepWatch monitors rest and activity patterns using a device strapped to a driver’s wrist like a watch. Another, called SafeTRAC from AssistWare Technology Inc., detects lane changes. Product designer Richard Grace believes his machine can detect fatigue faster than most lane-tracking devices because eyes tend to close before a driver starts swerving. However, sleep researchers such as David Dinges of the University of Pennsylvania believe Grace’s unit and SleepWatch are too invasive. Dinges, who studied Grace’s device and Sleepwatch for the federal government, voiced concerns about false alerts and who owns the data. He believes lane trackers are more reliable. The American Trucking Association says devices that keep drivers alert are a good idea, but not if they’re mandatory. The AP article did not mention the name of Grace’s device nor a timeframe for availability.
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