New research helps develop roadside fatigue test

By: Cobey Bartels

Victoria-based team develops a test that can help police determine if a person is too tired to drive

New research helps develop roadside fatigue test
Lead researcher Mark Howard.


A team of researchers based out of the Austin Health and Institute for Breathing and Sleep in Melbourne have successfully tested the ‘smart glasses’ used to track eye movements.

The test looks at the duration of blinks and how eyes scan the road, providing an accurate measure of fatigue.

Lead researcher and associate professor Mark Howard says they are now working on translating technology calibrated for each driver to a one-size-fits-all-test that police could use to scientifically determine in a roadside test if someone is too tired to drive.

"With drug and alcohol testing, you're trying to change driver behaviour," Howard says. 

"You don't need to detect everyone - just the tip of the iceberg people who are very impaired.

"Education, with measurement and enforcement, creates the behaviour change.

"We are really at the start of the journey for drowsy driving - people still see it as a badge of honour to drive while tired."

When it comes to enforcement, it isn’t yet known how police will administer or use the results or how it could affect the heavy vehicle industry.

"Victoria Police have been approached to be involved and will watch with interest a body of work being undertaken researching a roadside test for fatigue," a Victoria Police statement reads.

"Police will always consider discussions around road safety initiatives which look to keep our community safe on the roads."

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