According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 10 percent of all car crashes are caused by distracted driving. Approximately one in six crashes are caused by either distracted or drowsy driving. These driver errors are responsible for thousands of deaths annually, including hundreds on North Carolina and South Carolina roads.
Unfortunately, until every vehicle on the road is fully autonomous, we probably aren’t going to completely escape this problem. Competition from driver attention is everywhere – from smartphones to kids in the back seat to increasingly interactive dashboards. There is a lot of talk of beefing up anti-texting laws or ramping up enforcement, but the reality is these types of laws are difficult to widely enforce on a regular basis. Based on a National Safety Council survey, 55 percent of Americans concede to “occasionally” making a phone call while driving, and 32 percent said if there was no law against it, they would probably text and drive. (The reality is many of those still do, regardless of the law.)
Still, there is hope that technology might be helpful in curbing this serious problem after all – and perhaps sooner than anticipated. A new system has been introduced that uses embedded computer vision to determine when a driver is either drowsy or distracted. Using an infrared camera, the system follows the driver’s eyes, while the computer vision detects the driver’s state and conducts a real-time analysis.