Tech Glasses Help Combat Drivers Fatigue.

“Grandma wears her special glasses!” Adam, the seven year old grandson of Loretta Fernie exclaims pointing to the eyewear she proudly displays.

“Oh I’m so high tech!” She beams. The glasses are pretty impressive, from a newly developed class of accessories designed to help assess and alert the wearer of drivers fatigue – a common ailment plaguing drivers of all ages and endangering everyone on the road.

About 60% of all drivers admit to driving while feeling drowsy according to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, and of those more than 37% have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel. Those who admitted to falling asleep said it occurred at least once a month. Approximately eleven million drivers admit to having an accident or near accident due to drivers fatigue.

Because there is no breathalyzer type of exam to determine whether someone is fit to drive before setting out behind the wheel, measuring the signs of drivers fatigue can be challenging.

“I just want to cover all my bases.” The grandmother of two says.

Loretta age 68, falls into the late afternoon driver risk category statistically – her hand eye coordination and general wakefulness and attention waning behind the wheel during typical “siesta” hours of 1-4pm. Though she is mindful of it, she refuses to let that statistic interfere in her picking up Adam weekdays after school around 3:15pm. She knows then to be especially mindful of her state, and also to monitor closely any telling signs of dangerous drivers fatigue.

Her Optalert Drowsiness Detection glasses help her to monitor the signs, even before she might notice them. The glasses measure her eyelid movement at a remarkable rate of 500 times per second through an invisible LED built into the frame of the unassuming glasses. The technology touts two key measurements that track the amplitude velocity ratio – or as Adam shouts excitedly explaining –

“How fast and far grandma opens up her eyes every time she blinks!” he says shutting his eyes and flaring them open in a demonstration.

“That’s right!” Loretta says “and then it’s translated into the Johns Drowsiness Scale – I check my score on this” she says motioning to the display indicator.

The glasses are of a class of different technologies all geared at preventing the estimated 1, 550 deaths and 71, 000 injuries caused by drivers fatigue. Among others available such as ring like monitors worn on the hand, others attached to the seat belt worn close to the heart. Some require participation from the driver – cuing them to tap a unit attached to the dash when prompted by a sound their reaction time being measured. Cameras are even available to monitor the driver for signs of drivers fatigue and alert them in time.

For Loretta and her grandson, the glasses work just fine. She takes driving an automobile seriously – understanding the risk involved, and doing everything she can to prevent her chances of drivers fatigue and to protect her precious cargo in style no less.