Driver fatigue / distraction / behavioural technology can save more than lives

With industries embracing Australia’s Driver fatigue / distraction  / behavioural management strategy, LSM Technologies is leading the way with its Australian designed and developed innovative products and solutions.

Driver fatigue and distraction is implicated in approximately 60 per cent of mining accidents involving haul trucks and up to 30 per cent of on-road transport haulage crashes. 

Because of this, in-cabin fatigue and distraction monitoring are now recognised by the mining and resources industry as a critical component of its Driver Fatigue Management strategy for ensuring safer drivers. 

Safe Work Australia defines fatigue as more than feeling tired or drowsy. In a work context, fatigue is mental and/or physical exhaustion that reduces the ability to perform work safely and effectively. 

Fatigue (distraction)-related crashes remain a major concern for the Australian Government and other road safety authorities across the country. In 2008, the Western Australian Government released its 12-year road safety strategy, Towards Zero, which set out a target of 11,000 fewer people killed or seriously injured (KSI) by 2020, which is a 40 per cent reduction from the baseline period of 2005-2007. The baseline figure for fatigue-related KSI was 264. 

Using a 40 per cent reduction, a figure of 158 was the government’s target for 2020. However, the estimated figure for fatigue-related KSI in Western Australia for 2016 was 319. This statistic exceeds the 2020 KSI reduction target by 161 people on WA roads. 

According to the Road Safety Commission website, driver fatigue (and distraction) accounts for more than 20-30 per cent of all fatal crashes and serious injuries on Australian roads. It is believed that this number is below the actual figure due to the difficulty of accurately measuring fatigue and the potential for fatigue to be masked by other factors, such as drugs and alcohol. 

Research shows that workers are more at risk of these fatal incidents because of irregular work schedules and longer distances driven, compared to non-commercial drivers. It is estimated that fatigue-related road incidents cost workers, families and the Australian economy $3 billion each year out of an estimated $27 billion per year in road incidents. 

In order to accurately measure the impact of driver fatigue (and distraction) in real-time, and to collect data for health and safety analysis, LSM Technologies has developed its LSM CabSense device.

LSM CabSense is a driver and occupant fatigue, distraction and behavioural monitoring camera designed for mobile or stationary vehicle fleet.

The device uses a unique inward facing IR camera that detects driver events such as drowsiness, distraction, identity and dangerous actions, providing real-time driver alerts, as well as tailored fleet manager alerts and insights sent to LSM FSM Fleet Safety Manager telematics system.

 The underlaying technology is based on proprietary driver / occupant monitoring software which, thanks to the solution’s high quality, robustness and compliance, meets with the demands of heavy mobile fleets.

The detection of driver state, behaviour, driver ID and camera status enable life-saving and cost-saving features to the fleet and its drivers. 

In addition to the real-time alerts, further unique features were designed to serve fleets’ needs, and includes camera tamper proofing, high-level driver ID, workforce management enhancement, driver scoring information, and real-time transfer of data to LSM FSM Fleet Safety Manager telematics system for compliance and ongoing safety management. 

The device is equipped with self-monitoring capabilities to detect tampering and other malfunctions which may have an adverse effect on its operation. 

LSM Technologies engineering manager Peter Woodford says the underlying technology of the LSM CabSense is designed to not just meet but surpass Australian safety standards and regulations.

“Through working with industry, occupational health and safety professionals, legislators, regulators and our clients we endeavour to surpass Australian and international standards compliance and reduce our clients’ risk and best protect their human and equipment assets,” he says.

“The built-in video analytics are self-configuring and work by tracking drivers’ eye lids and pupil dilation for fatigue related events, as well as monitoring the distraction and other potential unsafe behaviours using proprietary algorithms.  

“The system warns the driver with real-time audible alerts when symptoms of fatigue or distracted driving or other unsafe behaviours are recognised. LSM Technologies CabSense camera is designed to be a proactive monitoring and warning tool built on our nearly two decades of experience and engineering expertise in and with fleet safety mitigation control systems.

“The autonomous LSM CabSense Camera System can be combined with our LSM FSM Fleet Safety Manager web-based telemetry monitoring system to provide real-time alerts, reporting, analysis, as well as other data back to base / despatch. This powerful combination of driver and fleet safety manager alerts ensure a proactive approach to fleet operator, as well as public safety.”

Woodford says the LSM Technologies CabSense camera unit provides simple driver alerts when suspected distraction or fatigue occurs as well as unsafe behaviour of both the driver and other occupants that may occur within the vehicle cabin. 

“It is very important that there are adequate visual and audible alerts provided to the driver so if an event occurs then they are aware and can take corrective action,” Woodford says.

“The LSM CabSense camera is  permanently located inside the vehicle and usually mounted on the vehicle dashboard so as to clearly capture and map the drivers face, body and internals of vehicle cabin.

“LSM CabSense is positioned remotely from the driver, it does not require interaction with the driver.”

Woodford says there are multiple advantages for using its LSM CabSense camera in the mining and resources, as well as the heavy haulage and transport industry.

“The DFM cameras are not wearable – they are positioned remotely from the driver, it does not require interaction with the driver and so will not be subjected to damage due to handling or be lost or misplaced,” Woodford says. 

“They can monitor for driver distraction so should the driver move from view of the camera an alert is sounded. If an incident or accident occurs the driver’s face is also recorded.”

Woodford says the importance of understanding the dangers of driver fatigue and distraction cannot be underestimated.

“Australia relies on drivers staying safe and the prevention of serious driving accidents in the workforce,” Woodford explains.

“That is why we have developed these products to not only provide safety features in real-time, but to also provide data that can be analysed so we get a greater understanding of the issues relating to driver fatigue / distraction and adverse behaviour whilst driving.

“LSM Technologies are evolving as leader in Australia with an in- house engineering design team to develop the latest in safety mitigation controls.

“We are also developing additional vehicle safety mitigation solutions that will be released to heavy industry by Q12021 using our LSM Sentinel System that integrates our LSM RollStop, RadarSense, CabSense, AccessID, DriverView, TyreGuard, and EnviroCab.And all of these technologies will be integrated into our FSM.

“With more data, more analysis and a bigger focus on the key issues, industries will hopefully see a significant decrease in the number of driver fatalities / injuries. 

”LSM Technologies are focused on providing ‘home grown’ Australian developed OH&S mitigation technologies that will best protect our customers essential ‘human and equipment assets’, provide costs- downs and enhance productivity.” 

This story also appears in the July issue of Safe to Work.

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