Volvo Research Distinguishes Fatigue From Drunk Driving

By: Glady Reign

According to the recent study conducted by Volvo Research, loss of co-ordination, motor skills, response times, vision, attentiveness and even cognitive ability and attitude are all clear signs of a drunk driver. As pointed in the study, the signs are very similar to the characteristics of a driver who has not had enough sleep. The study revealed both the enormous similarities and the vital differences between the effects of alcohol and of drowsiness on a driver.

The Swedish automaker has long etched the commitment for the safety of its customers. To bolster it a little further, the automaker created a group to investigate the causes of accidents and innovating auto parts like the to protect occupants better. In recent years, the automaker has become increasingly interested in studying drowsiness as a cause of road accidents. As such, medical research indicated that the number of traffic fatalities, which totals to about 40,000 per year in Europe alone, would be able to radically slash if fewer road-users were drowsy.

Drowsiness caused by fatigue could be just as hazardous to drivers as drunk driving. In order to be able to build systems to guide drivers, Volvo Trucks has taken "a holistic perspective encompassing everything that contributes to increased traffic safety," including the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) that helps prevent the vehicle from rolling over.

The Swedish automaker said that a series of real-life tests verified the facts regarding what actually happens when a driver gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. The study, which was conducted in a closed-off area at the automaker's proving ground in Hallered in Sweden, was authorized within the framework of the permit that Volvo Trucks had previously received from the Swedish government.

Volvo said that the tests could be used to identify tired or drowsy drivers. The study employed a variety of measures including two cameras fitted above the instrument panel that monitor the driver's eye movements. "We wanted our suspicions confirmed in a scientific study using real drivers in an authentic driving environment and using real vehicles - all so as to know with precision how a driver reacts both when drowsy and when under the influence of alcohol," said Peter Kronberg, a researcher at Volvo Technology.
Kronberg added, "The test helps increase knowledge about how factors such as tiredness, the effects of alcohol and other negative input can affect driving ability. This is knowledge that we need for our ongoing development of methods to sound the alert in time - before accidents occur. We've been able to confirm the similarities between drowsiness and alcohol when it comes to impaired road safety. The similarities were remarkable - the symptoms were very similar in our research."

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