Shaking wheel may make driving safer

Shaking wheel may make driving safer

Motorists of the future could have a high-tech vibrating steering wheel to keep them focused on the road ahead.

A British business has invented the technology in response to growing evidence that suggests distractions and poor concentration are the biggest cause of UK road accidents.

Last year, an Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) poll showed that children, mobile phones, switching radio stations and looking at attractive pedestrians were all excuses for not paying attention .

Such distractions can prove costly in terms of lives, injuries and car insurance .

In response, Cambridge-based ARM Holdings created smart cockpit cameras that can read motorists' expressions and work out if their attention might be switching off in the driver's seat.

The gadget perches on a car's rear-view mirror, scanning the driver's "blink rate", which betrays drowsiness or lack of alertness.

The driver is then shaken out of his reverie via a vibrating steering wheel, shaking seat or alarm.

ARM vice-president Richard York said this latest invention is just an extension of the increasing amount of censors being found in today's vehicles.

He said these are already used for detecting the gap between cars and when vehicles drift outside their lanes.

In an interview with The Times, Mr York says the device is still years away from becoming commonplace on the road.

Highway experts blame drivers' dependence upon GPS devices, hands-free phones and other in-car devices on a recent slight rise in severe injuries and road deaths (4%).

Car-related injuries are the main reason for people dying from the ages of 15 to 29 years old.

The IAM put into context last year just how vital concentration is to safe driving.

It said that if motorists deflect their eyes off the highway for only 2 seconds while driving at 30mph they will travel almost 90ft (27.4m).

Motorists are fooling themselves if they believe they can successfully multi-task when driving, it added.

Copyright Press Association 2015 (car insurance)

UKBC: Main (4.50)

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