Electric shock device could help drivers stay awake

Although New Jersey motorists may be aware of the dangers of drunk driving, many may not realize that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous. In fact, it is estimated that falling asleep at the wheel is the cause of thousands of fatal accidents around the country each year. While some people who regularly drive while drowsy rely on coffee and loud music to keep them awake, others are looking for a more permanent solution to the problem.

A team of designers created a wearable piece of technology called Steer, which emits a gentle shock to the driver when it detects he or she is at risk for falling asleep at the wheel. The device was funded through Kickstarter where it was available for purchase for under $130. When it hits the market, the device is expected to retail for about $230.

To accomplish this, the device, which is worn on the driver’s wrist, measures the person’s base heart rate and skin conductivity. If the driver’s heart beat decreases by 10 beats per minute or if his or her skin conductivity decreases by one unit from the baseline, the device will vibrate. If the driver’s heart rate or skin conductivity continues to drop, the device will give a gentle shock.

Even though there are people who are working to reduce the number of accidents caused by drowsy drivers, it is ultimately the responsibility of motorists to ensure that they are able to safely operate the vehicle. This means getting an appropriate amount of sleep. A person who is injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver may want to have legal assistance pursuing compensation for medical bills and other losses.

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