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New device shocks sleep-deprived drivers awake

Fatigued driving causes up to 6,000 fatal accidents per year, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York motorists might be interested in a new device that allows fatigued drivers to be shocked by gentle electric pulses. If this wristband device is effective, it has the possibility of cutting back on these types of accidents.

Unlike caffeine, which is meant to keep a driver awake, the device works to shock drivers awake and work with the body to produce hormones that increase alertness. The wristband measures the heart rate of the motorists wearing it as well as the conductance of their skin. When a person begins falling asleep, their heart rate and skin conductance drop. At the first sign of these alertness measures dropping, the wristband vibrates.

Once the heart rate and the skin conductance of the wearer drop a second time, the device provides a safe, low-amperage electric shock that has the effect of initiating the production of alertness hormones, such as cortisol and serotonin, in the wearer. Nonetheless, the creators of the device, which is called Steer, are hopeful that drivers will take the shock as a message to pull over and take a nap. The company producing the device has been seeking crowdfunding financing.

Although motor vehicle accidents caused by sleep-deprived motorists are not as prevalent as those caused by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can still be just as deadly. Driving while drowsy can be a form of negligence, and people who have been harmed in such an accident may want legal assistance when attempting to obtain compensation for their losses.

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