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Consumer News

New Apps, Devices Designed To Keep Drowsy Drivers Awake

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Highway statistics show one out of every six fatal car crashes involves a drowsy driver.

That’s why Christina Strambaugh feels lucky to be alive after falling asleep behind the wheel.

“The next thing I knew, the rumble strips woke me up on the side of the road and I realized immediately I had fallen asleep,” she said.

That kind of experience was a terrifying wake-up call for Christina and countless other drivers.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

“Over 60% of people will report that they’ve driven drowsy at some point in time over the last year and about 34% of those people report that they have actually fallen asleep,” said  Dr. Helene Emsellem, author of the book You Snooze, You Lose.

Now there are several smart phone applications and other devices designed to keep drivers from dozing off while they are driving. One is called Anti-Drowse.

“You put in the time you are driving and you hit start,” explained Doug Newcomb of Edmunds.com. “It pretty much uses noises to keep you awake.”

Anti-sleep Pilot asks you to perform various tasks during your drive. “When you are driving, certain screens pop up. They’ll ask you to perform certain functions. It measures your reaction time and if it feels you are getting too fatigued, it will tell you to take a break. Anti-Sleep Pilot also comes in an independent dashboard mounted devices.

There is also the No-Nap device. That’s a small piece of equipment that sits near your ear like a blue tooth headset.  It sounds a buzzer if you nod off.

There are also some luxury cars that come equipped with anti-dosing devices. Volvo has a driver alert technology. It monitors lane markers and looks for jerky motions which inattentive drivers are known to make. If it senses something amiss, it will warn the driver.

Mercedes-Benz uses a steering sensor.

“The car recognizes that your steering is erratic, or your breaking is erratic or your acceleration is erratic and it will give you a warning,” Newcomb explained.

Christina knows that preventing that one drowsy moment could save a life.

“It just takes a split second to fall asleep and swerve,” she said.

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