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Automotive: Snooze mobiles: How vibrations in cars make drivers sleepy

July 5, 2018, RMIT University
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Source; excerpts follow:

Quote

New research has found the natural vibrations of cars make people sleepier, affecting concentration and alertness levels just 15 minutes after drivers get behind the wheel.

With about 20 per cent of fatal road crashes involving driver fatigue, researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, hope their findings can be used by manufacturers to improve car seat designs to help keep drivers awake…

"From 15 minutes of getting in the car, drowsiness has already begun to take hold. In half an hour, it's making a significant impact on your ability to stay concentrated and alert…


And the shocker:

Quote

"We know 1 in 5 Australians have fallen asleep at the wheel and we know that drowsy driving is a significant issue for road safety," Robinson said…

Really? 1-in-5? Is that a lifetime "one-strike-you're-out" or is this a regular occurrence for them? In my 40+ years of driving, I remember ONE incident where I fell asleep while driving: It was professional, I was about 19-yo, was trying to do a same-day Pittsburg/NYC round trip and had been awake for about 20-hours. Drifted onto the shoulder, got a lot of weeds caught up in the undercarriage of new Lincoln lease car but fortunately (and remarkably) avoided a wreck. It was "wakeup call" that's lasted to this day: -Refreshing rest stops every 2-hours and find a room (or a relief driver) if that's not enough.

It's curious how researcher Robinson attributes the putative effect to "car seats", not to suspension, chassis isolation, or even road conditions. Does this mean that smooth-riding, comfy luxury cars are somehow "better" at preventing sleepy drivers? Or is the dangerous seat vibration so subtle that your gluteus maximi fall asleep first?

I entirely agree that sleepiness behind the wheel is a dangerous form of driver impairment; I'm just not sure redesigning automotive seats is the answer. Greater senses of responsibility and self-awareness are a better start.
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2 Comments On This Entry

Just an aside (I'll get to the point in a minute, I promise!) Here in the Seattle area, the City Council has done everything possible to show their utter disdain for cars-less parking, expensive gasoline, and even fewer car lanes (LOTS of bicycle lanes and bus lanes, though) It is all in the move to get us OUT of our cars and INTO the city transit.

Could this article be written to serve the same purpose, to try to scare people OUT of their cars and into the nice, safe buses?

:2cents:

(BTW-I'm glad RN is still going strong!)


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The only time I fell asleep was doing Florida to NY in one trip, only stopping for gas. The rumble strips on 95 saved me.
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