Investigations have suggested that a vehicle can play a role in drivers’ slow response.
An investigation in Australia has demonstrated that vehicles can make drivers drowsy. If this proves convincing, it will change everything we believe about crashes and the drivers, who slow to respond at the wheel. Those drivers may, in fact, have been lethargic, not the way it is normally applied to “tired drivers.”
On a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program, there was an exchange with an Australian researcher, Prof. Stephen Robinson, of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Robinson along with a group found that low-frequency humming coming from the car is causing drowsiness. It causes drivers to slip into a state of “zoning out”.
15 people were found to become drowsy and crash, most likely, after being in a running car for about 15 minutes. They weren’t even tired when it started.
The simulator was a seat, steering wheel, and a display of a road in front of the participant. The whole thing was on a steel plate set up to be like the vibrations in a real car when moving.
The driver is compliant with HOS, lulled into an almost tired state by the road and the truck. Trucks no days are very luxurious, with deep padded seats, noise-reducing cushions, with the hands-off operation, etc. The driver doesn’t have to do much of anything with the vehicle. Especially if the trucks are automatic. Without an activity to keep drivers alert, how likely is it, being lulled into a zone-out situation. Then but being tossed to the wolves on a fatigue-related violation?
After the truck crashes, it is often reported the driver fell asleep. How often do the examinations reveal a fully aware driver? It is rarely reported about the results of the investigations.
Truck companies are aware of the vibrations, as they are the leading cause of back and leg problems, with our drivers. With Robinson’s study, there is a much bigger need to address them. That could save money and live. Maybe trucks should be made more like the teeth jarring trucks of old and made manual again.