Tag Archives: Driving While Fatigued

“Sleepy Behind the Wheel? Some Cars Can Tell”

Nvidia, chip supplier to Audi, Mercedes, Tesla and others, is developing the Co-Pilot, an artificial-intelligence tool that can learn the behaviors of individual drivers and determine when they are operating outside their norms.

The system will eventually learn a driver’s standard posture, head position, eye-blink rate, facial expression and steering style, among other indexes. Based on a vehicle’s capabilities, the driver will be warned or automatically driven to a safe spot when conditions warrant.

Until vehicles can drive themselves, it will be up to drivers to pull over once they feel drowsy. But drivers tend to make excuses, believing there is no danger because they are just a few minutes from home, or they are not really as tired as they may feel.

“The more tired you are, the less able you are to change your behavior,” such as by pulling off the road for a short rest, said Mikael Ljung Aust, a technical specialist working on drowsiness mitigation technologies at Volvo’s Safety Center in Gothenburg, Sweden.

See more here at this article on Vehicle Technology to Detect Microsleep in a Driver: Sleepy Behind the Wheel? Some Cars Can Tell, By

Sounds like a good technology to discuss at our Tired Trucker Roundtable.

Promising grant program announced to battle DROWSY DRIVING or DWF = Driving While Fatigued

I just read about the announcement of a grant program for state highway safety offices to develop programs to battle drowsy driving. Good. Hope it helps.

$100,000 Grant Announced to Support State Highway Safety Offices in
Creating and Implementing Drowsy Driving Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Drowsy Driving Prevention Week approaches (November 6-13), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is proud to announce it has received a $100,000 grant from the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) to support innovative state approaches that address the pressing issue of drowsy driving. The grants will be awarded to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) through a competitive application process that will be announced in early 2017.

This grant comes on the heels of a report released in August 2016 by GHSA and State Farm® that noted drowsy driving is the cause of 328,000 crashes each year, resulting in an annual societal cost of $109 billion. The report, Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do, recommended numerous programs and initiatives that states can consider to combat drowsy driving including: creating public awareness campaigns; improving data-collection methods to better assess drowsy driving crashes; developing training for law enforcement to recognize the signs of drowsy driving; and partnering with business, non-profits and educational institutions to change the culture around drowsy driving.

“There are a tremendous number of challenges that the highway safety community faces in addressing drowsy driving,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “For many states, a lack of funding has been a stumbling block. This grant will enable states to develop and implement innovative strategies to better assess and combat this problem.”

Read more here: GHSA to Fund State Drowsy Driving Programs Through National Road Safety Foundation Grant

Irreversible tragedies

NHTSA asking for Comments on guideline to address growing problem of distracted & drowsy driving

I just received a notification that NHTSA is asking for Public Comments on a new guideline which they have developed for states to address the growing problem of distracted and drowsy driving. This follows recent news about the number of crash deaths so far in 2016 which has increased from the crash deaths in 2015 which increased from the crash deaths in 2013  — which included my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13).

NHTSA has developed a new guideline on distracted and drowsy driving, No. 9, to address these growing problems. This new guideline will help States develop plans to address distracted and drowsy driving. In 2014, ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes. These proportions have remained stable over the past five years of reported data. In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distraction-affected drivers. Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers killed in the age range who were distracted at the time of the crashes. Lastly, in 2014, there were 520 non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists, killed in distraction-affected crashes. (1) The limitations of these data are described in an April 2016 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note (DOT HS 812 260). (2)

Current estimates range from 2 percent to 20 percent of annual traffic deaths attributable to driver drowsiness. According to NHTSA, annually on average from 2009 to 2013, there were over 72,000 police-reported crashes involving drowsy drivers, injuring more than an estimated 41,000 people, and killing more than 800. (3) By using a multiple imputation methodology, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver. (4) This estimate suggests that more than 5,000 people died in drowsy-driving-related motor vehicle crashes across the United States last year. Research conducted in 2012 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed drivers ages 16-24 were the most likely to report having fallen asleep while driving within the past year. (5) Finally, the AAA Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Index reported that nearly all drivers (97.0%) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior; however, nearly 1 in 3 (31.5%) admitted to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month. (6)

It is important that States begin to address the problems of distracted and drowsy driving. This guideline is designed to help policymakers with decisions about how best to address these growing issues.

READ MORE HERE:  Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines

Irreversible tragedies

Please comment here by September 22, 2016: Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines

DWF = Driving While Fatigued (or Drowsy Driving)

Driver fatigue can affect any driver–you included, or the driver of a vehicle in which you are a passenger.

“…Driving while fatigued is comparable to driving drunk, only there is not the same social stigma attached. Like alcohol, fatigue affects our ability to drive by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and impairing judgment. Driving while sleep impaired is a significant issue, and is no longer tolerated. Legislation {in Canada} is beginning to change by handling collisions cause by a fatigued driver as seriously as alcohol-impaired crashes.” https://canadasafetycouncil.org/safety-canada-online/article/driver-fatigue-falling-asleep-wheel

Posts on this topic:

Our truck crash may have involved a tired trucker: http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/our-crash-was-not-an-accident/

Tired Trucker Roundtable


A National Traffic Safety Ombudsman could help to facilitate a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero Community Action/Advocacy Groups to get citizens involved in working to solve this kind of problem, as well as other traffic safety issues.

I propose a Tired Trucker Roundtable to more comprehensively address driver fatigue crashes.

After the truck crash which killed AnnaLeah and Mary, we never saw the truck driver’s paper log books and he was not able to tell us why he hit us. We suspect that drowsy driving may well have played a part. But it is a very difficult thing to prove.

I can’t go back and re-do that day and make sure that truck driver is fully alert throughout his entire work day on the road–especially that stretch of I-20 in Georgia near Exit 130. But I can advocate for the widespread public health problem of driver fatigue to be recognized and tackled.

Tired Trucker Roundtable

I am soooo tired of the political tug-of-war over truck driver hours of service. It isn’t solving the basic problem, folks. And the problem isn’t going to go away if there is no change in how it is addressed.

Just like with the deadly underride issue, we need to gather together people and organizations from all over the board, including truckers, truck companies, sleep doctors, regulatory officials from DOT and the Department of Labor and CDC’s Department of Injury Prevention, sleep researchers, safety advocates, and victims of tired trucker crashes.

At this life-changing event, let’s communicate about every possible factor which can contribute to drowsy driving–including, but most certainly not limited to, the truckers’ hours of service on the job and research on driver fatigue. And then, let’s brainstorm together about how this Goliath can be conquered through collaborative strategies and solutions.

A Tired Trucker Roundtable. Now that would be worthy of shouting, “Awesome!” Eh, Mary?!

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Vision Zero collaborative creativity can achieve amazzzzing results!


Truck Driver Fatigue: a problem with deadly results deserves nat’l priority status

FMCSA and FRA to Host Public Listening Sessions on Obstructive Sleep Apnea among Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers and Rail Workers – See more at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/fmcsa-and-fra-host-public-listening-sessions-obstructive-sleep-apnea-among-commercial-motor#sthash.0ekKDOVU.dpuf:

May 12, Washington, D.C.

May 17, Chicago

May 25, Los Angeles

There are many factors which may contribute to driver fatigue–sleep apnea is one, along with the pressure to reach a destination and put many hours on the road in order to make a living (wage compensation), not to mention the monotony of long hours on the road.

Articles on truck driver fatigue:

Sleep apnea is one problem that needs attention. But to take the problem of truck driver fatigue seriously, we need to cover all the bases. http://annaleahmary.com/driver-fatigue/

Driving While Fatigued

President Obama, please establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force to address deadly truck driver fatigue, along with many other traffic safety issues: Letter to President Obama from the Karth Family

Life & Death Traffic Safety Problems Deserve Proper Treatment: Not Political Tug-of-War Game!

Driven distracted lately? You and who else? Where will we end up?

With a national focus on Distracted Driving this month, I thought that I would highlight the posts which I have written on that deadly subject: Distracted Driving posts on annaleahmary.com.


Somebody has to take personal responsibility & be accountable for the danger of the trucking industry.

“At some point, somebody has to take personal responsibility & be accountable for the danger of this industry. More truck drivers are killed on the job than any other occupation. More than 500 truck drivers are killed every year in truck crashes. . . I don’t know any other industry where that’s allowed .  .  . and people are looking the other way.

“We need to have this prosecuted at the industry or company level, because that’s where the problem lies. . . The industry drives them harder and longer than they should. The result is catastrophic death and injury all across the country

“If we could get a change in some of the laws. . . to the point where company executives are criminally responsible for the violations of their drivers’ Hours of Service, you would see a lot of things change in the industry. You might see some changes that are long overdue,”  says Jeff Burns, Truck Litigation Attorney.

Jeff Burns, National Transportation Counsel for the Truck Safety Coaltion, discusses the issue of truck crash prosecutions and the challenges facing victims of truck crashes. Prosecutors across the country are choosing not to prosecute those responsible for deadly truck crashes. Furthermore, drivers and companies are facing only minimal fines, much less than a speeding motorist, for reckless driving that results in an accident and/or death. Visit www.trucksafety.org for more information on how you can help in the fight to make our highways safer for everyone. June 14, 2011

Some previous posts which I have written on the issues of justice related to truck crashes:



“Fatigue and the criminal law.”

Should Driving While Fatigued be considered RECKLESS or NEGLIGENT when a person is driving an 80,000 lbs. death machine? Not a new question. Deserves an answer.

“Fatigue is an increasingly recognised risk factor for transportation accidents. In light of this, there is the question of whether driving whilst fatigued should be a criminal offence. This paper discusses the current legal position, including the problems of voluntary conduct and self awareness. Three models for reform are proposed. The manner in which scientific research can inform legal consideration and future directions for research are discussed.”

Ind Health. 2005 Jan;43(1):63-70.


Other related studies:

  1. “Fell asleep and caused a fatal head-on crash? A case study of multidisciplinary in-depth analysis vs. the court. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19214881
  2. “Convicted of fatigued driving: who, why and how? ”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19540978
  3. “[Tiredness and sleepiness in bus drivers and road accidents in Peru: a quantitative study].”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15333261
  4. “Modern medicine is neglecting road traffic crashes. ” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23776413
  5. “Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk: systematic review of observational studies and meta-analysis.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22323502
  6. “Psychomotor vigilance testing of professional drivers in the occupational health clinic: a potential objective screen for daytime sleepiness.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21826029
  7. “Visual vigilance in drivers with obstructive sleep apnea.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19616141

If a truck driver is prone to drive drowsy, what is the logical strategy to make him/her a safer driver? Forbid driving commercially? Require technology to alert to sleepiness? Convict of a reckless criminal offense if not used and a crash results leading to death or serious injury?

What Hours of Service (HOS) rules would make the most sense?

And ENFORCEMENT is oh so very important. In our crash, the Crash Report said, “No Medical Card found.” Yet, was any further mention made of this or investigation done into this? Not that I am aware of.

Driving While Fatigued = DWF = A Public Health Problem


“Despite Plenty of Anti-Sleep Gadgets, Truckers Still Fall Asleep at the Wheel”

A long article from the perspective of some truck drivers on the fatigue that tends to occur when driving for a living. . . http://motherboard.vice.com/read/despite-plenty-of-anti-sleep-gadgets-truckers-still-fall-asleep-at-the-wheel .

Imagine being the one who fell asleep at the wheel and killed someone as a result. Drowsy driving is too often ignored until it’s too late.  Let’s do a better job of solving this problem, America.

DWF = Driving While Fatigued


A Gadget to Alert Drivers When They Nod Off at the Wheel; What are we waiting for, America?!

“Gadget to stop drivers nodding off at the wheel could become compulsory could be included in new European regulations” My goodness, if this can be done & would Save Lives, why would we NOT do it, America?!

“Germans Develop Device to Stop Drivers Falling Asleep at the Wheel.” I remember reading about this previously:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8122957/Germans-develop-device-to-stop-drivers-falling-asleep-at-the-wheel.html

DWF = Driving While Fatigued is a widespread problem that is largely ignored and difficult to recognize while you are in the thick of things (which makes it even more disastrous) — with potentially disastrous consequences. Under-reported. . . because it is not measurable after the fact.



Our crash may have been caused by truck driver drowsy driving.