A long drive in California could cause a driver to nod off behind the wheel and get in a wreck. To alleviate the problem, a company called Creative Mode is raising money for a wearable called Steer. The inventors' Kick starter campaign has already gained 100 people willing to fund the device, which vibrates or shocks a person after detecting biometric signs of drowsiness.
The founder of Creative Mode became interested in the risks of drowsy driving after a friend fell asleep and crashed into a tree. He learned that approximately 6,000 people died every year nationwide in wrecks attributed to drivers falling asleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Steer begins with a baseline reading of the wearer's heart rate and skin conductivity level as determined by sweat secretion. When a person's heart rate falls by 10 beats per minute and skin conductance drops by one unit, a vibration warns the person. A low shock results if the person's heart rate goes down an additional three beats along with another unit of decline in skin conductance. The designers said that the low amperage electric pulse does not hurt but provides enough stimulation to wake a person up when vibration fails.
Although this creative technology could provide conscientious people with the means to prevent nodding off, not everyone always chooses to pull over when unable to stay awake. A person hurt in a crash caused by a drowsy driver could pursue financial damages with the assistance of an attorney who represents victims of car accidents. An attorney could pressure an insurance company to pay a settlement that covers the cost of serious or even catastrophic injuries. With legal representation, a victim could hand off the burdens of court filings and communications with hostile parties.