April 26 2022

Gerard van den Houten, Regional Director for EMEA at Seeing Machines, writes about the emerging role of driver distraction and fatigue technology in enhancing safety for the passenger transport industry.

Road traffic statistics consistently demonstrate that deaths from risky driver behaviour overwhelmingly represent the main cause of traffic-related death and injury. Drowsy and distracted driving continue to be leading factors in these otherwise preventable crashes. Local and national governments, including in Europe, the USA and Australasia have recognised distraction as part of the ‘fatal 5’ road safety issues for over a decade.

With safety a growing concern across a range of transport sectors, large vehicle operators, including bus and coach and other transport organisations have made great strides in taking a more holistic approach towards creating a safe and healthy environment for drivers and their passengers. These measures include the latest training methods and emerging safety technologies to improve driver behaviour, educate drivers around the dangers of driving while not fully engaged, and providing real-time feedback when risky driving occurs.

Today, coach and bus operators globally are turning to a range of driver fatigue and distraction detection technologies to mitigate these risks, discovering the invaluable safety benefits they provide. For safety conscious company owners, investing in this technology becomes a logical step in protecting their people.

Many major brands have already considered the benefits of, and are already using, this technology.

“We are in business to transport people safely, and this technology is fundamental to that”, commented Terry Sparkhall, Applications Manager at First Bus. “While it can seem daunting to drivers, in our experience and with the right guidance and support, it is embraced. They see it as an assistant, keeping them and their passengers safe, rather than a big brother.”

Leading this momentum for safety is the European Commission, which launched its revised General Safety Regulation in January 2020 to require all motor vehicles (including cars, vans, trucks and buses) to be fitted with a system to detect driver alertness. Initially, these systems will focus on fatigue and will apply to all new models from July 2022 and to all new vehicles from July 2024. The second stage will require an advanced system to detect driver distraction and to provide a warning when distracted driving occurs. This will apply to all new models from July 2024 and all new vehicles from July 2026.

Seeing Machines exists to get people home safely and has been developing driver monitoring system technology for over twenty years. You can find out more about Seeing Machines here.

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