Compulsory gadget that ensures drivers aren't asleep at the wheel?
The camera would trigger an alarm if a driver falls asleep or uses their mobile at the wheel, and according to a scientist at Britain’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), this technology is 'a big deal' when it comes to saving lives.
European Commission officials are looking at new safety proposals for car manufacturers could be looking at making these things mandatory, in what has been described as the most important advancement in safety since the introduction of airbags.
Richard Cuerden, TRL’s chief scientist, told the Times: "We are quite excited about it — we think this is a big deal. If we want to keep seeing road casualties reduced and if we don't want to see the horrendous stories we see happen ... we have got to put it in every vehicle."
Similar gadgets have been around for a while, and in the TRL report, they concluded that there's "clear evidence" of the effectiveness of similar systems. The Department for Transport's figures say that there's been a 41% increase in accidents relating to drivers using their mobiles (from 349 in 2010 to 492 in 2014). As for fatigue, there were 2,046 accidents last year, which is up 16%.
Volvo and Ford have similar systems, which evaluate how alert a driver is, but there will be privacy concerns from some motorists, who simply don't like the idea of a camera being installed in their car. We expect a fair amount of resistance on this idea.
A spokesperson for the commission said: "Technologies are becoming available on the market now and we will have to assess their technical capabilities."