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Technology aims to prevent car and truck accidents

Technology has its place, and many argue that it's not inside a vehicle. Some would say that's not a fair assessment, because technology can save lives, too. How? It could wake you up if you fall asleep.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are around 71,000 people injured and 1,550 people killed every year due to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving, which is when you're driving and tired but not necessarily sleeping, can be prevented, which is what some technology can do for you.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has said that driver assist systems could help when humans make mistakes, like if they needed to brake and didn't realize it or if they start drifting out of a lane. Forward-collision warning has been helpful to some, and lane-keeping assistance has prevented accidents for others. What about drowsy drivers, though?

In high-end cars, driver-assist systems can also help wake up drivers or eliminate drowsy driving all together. Subaru, for instance, has introduced sway control. Driver Alert Control was introduced to Volvo vehicles in 2007. Even Nissan offers the Driver Attention Alert option for some models.

How do these systems work? They monitor the throttle, how you control your vehicle and steer and use other systems to assess if you're driving erratically. An audible alert is usually sounded along with a visual alert on your instrument panel.

Volvo is also working on a system that could identify drooping eyes and when drivers are becoming too tired. That could help sense a driver falling asleep before the driver ever does.

Source: PCMag.com, "Wake Up! How Tech Can Help Fight Drowsy Driving," Doug Newcomb, Aug. 21, 2015

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