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ATA 2015: In-vehicle cameras help Toll manage driver fatigue

In-vehicle monitoring system alerts driver and company as soon as fatigue starts to take hold.


In-vehicle cameras that detect a truck driver’s eyelid movements are helping Toll Mining Services manage fatigue in its workforce.

The company is using what it calls driver state sensor (DSS) system in its trucks to address driver fatigue in real-time.

Toll Mining Services regional health, safety and environment manager Geoff Massey detailed the technology and its benefits at this year’s Trucking Australia conference.

“Basically these cameras look at the length of blink of an eyelid and when you get really fatigued you start to have what we call micro sleeps and these can be two to three seconds,” Massey says.

“When he [the truck driver] has a micro sleep the sensor detects that and the seat vibrates to wake him up.

“There’s also an audio alert [that] goes out and emails go out to our supervisors at site so at a business unit level there is information travelling to our supervisors who then ring up the driver so that they can talk to him and say, ‘take a break, get out of the cab, walk around your vehicle’.”

Massey says Toll monitors all fatigue events and produces weekly reports on the number of incidents to ensure driver fatigue remains under control.

DSS has helped avert potentially serious fatigue-related crashes, with Massey saying drivers are mostly unaware they are having micro sleeps.

“What is very telling though is when we see the driver have a micro sleep and we’ve talked to him and said please step out of the cab, he complies but nine times out of 10 he says, ‘I don’t feel fatigued, there is nothing wrong with me’,” he says.

“It is not until we take him back into the office and replay the video of him blinking that he’s absolutely stunned.

“So to me, fatigue is one of those deadly killers like electricity or gas. It’s unseen and unheard.”

DSS is one of a number of safety initiatives Toll Mining Services uses, with the company also limiting the speed of its trucks to 90km/h and installing ABS and EBS braking to prevent rollovers.

Toll Mining Services last year won the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) Training  Excellence Award for its approach to safety.

It decided to limit truck speed and install ABS and EBS after a 2012 review found that rollover prevention training for drivers was not enough.

Photography: Brad Gardner

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