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Warning system aims to prevent driver fatigue

Truck driver fatigue can be a menace on West Virginia roads. Since commercial big rigs can cause catastrophic damage, various companies are working to develop technology that can minimize the risk posed by fatigue behind the wheel.

Two companies, Trimble Transportation and Pulsar Informatics, recently came together to develop a warning system against truck driver fatigue. Pulsar, which was founded in 2001, has engaged in research about fatigue in industries like aviation and aerospace. The company has examined risks for pilots and astronauts in the past, two professions in which avoiding exhaustion is also critical. The system developed by the company to measure fatigue among trunk drivers includes a number of factors, such as the hours of service that a driver has already racked up.

The warning system produces a green, yellow or red status, reflecting the relative safety risk that the driver presents for fatigue at any given time. However, the system doesn't only take calculations into account; it also monitors driving behavior. People deal differently with different situations, and algorithms may not fully reflect a driver's performance. Thus, the software detects sudden starts and stops, roll stability warnings or veers outside the lane.

Fatigued truck drivers can be as dangerous behind the wheel as distracted or even drunk drivers, causing serious motor vehicle crashes that may lead to catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. Someone who has been injured in a trucking accident caused by negligent or dangerous driving can consult with a personal injury attorney to seek compensation for their damages, which may include medical bills or lost wages.

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