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Can wearable tech prevent drowsy driving crashes?

by AirTalk®

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Tractor-trailers move along an interstate frontage road in January 2004 in Hampshire, Illinois. The U.S. Department of Transportation introduced new rules that include an increase in the amount of rest truck drivers must take between shifts, and an increase in the allowable number of driving hours per shift Tim Boyle/Getty Images

It’s not just truck drivers who have been known to nod off behind the wheel on a long haul. If you count yourself among those who are turning up the music and rolling down the windows to keep yourself awake while driving drowsy, there may be another solution in store.

Vigo, a Bluetooth earpiece with an infrared sensor that monitors blinking to detect when users are tired, is nearing its target goal on Kickstarter. The device monitors drivers and plays an alarm or a song when someone starts to nod off -- it’s intended to keep exhausted drivers off the road, and to wake up those who find themselves on the verge of sleep.

While Vigo has yet to integrate it’s fully functional wearable device with a newly designed app, critics, including Yahoo’s David Pogue, think the earpiece shows promise. Could wearable technology help a market of tired drivers stay safe? Is it reasonable to think that consumers might spend $80 on this kind of device? What are the most reliable ways to drive safely while you’re exhausted?


David Pogue, vice president of Yahoo! Tech, monthly columnist for Scientific American and host of science shows on PBS’s “NOVA.”

Dr. Steven Bloc (Phd), Senior Traffic Safety Researcher, Auto Club of Southern California


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