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Wearable device to combat drowsy driving

While drowsy driving may not share the same reputation as drunk driving, it can present the same danger on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, as many as 6,000 fatal traffic accidents in the United States are due to drowsy driving. Maryland motorists who are concerned about falling asleep behind the wheel may be interested to know that they may be able to use a new device to keep themselves awake.

There are many temporary solutions drivers use to remain awake. They can include consuming energy drinks or coffee or playing loud music. The developers of a wearable shocking device believe that they have come up with a better answer.

The device is worn on the wrist and emits vibrations and low-voltage shocks when it detects that the driver is about to fall asleep. It has two separate sensors that can read changes in the wearer's sweat secretion and heart rate, two biometrics that indicate drowsiness. When drivers put on the device, the device will obtain preliminary readings of their skin conductance level and heart rate.

If the heart rate slows by 10 beats a minute and the skin conductance drops one unit from the baseline, the device will vibrate. If the heart rate and skin conductance levels fall more, the device will emit a gentle shock, which will increase the levels of various hormones, such as cortisol and serotonin, so that the driver does not fall asleep.

Nodding off behind the wheel can in some cases be considered a form of negligence. Motorists owe a duty of care to others on the road, and they should pull over when they become too drowsy. If they do not and a collision results, occupants of other vehicles who are injured might want to have the help of an attorney when seeking compensation for their losses.

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