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Drowsy driving prevention through electric shock

Many Iowa motorists have experienced terrifying moments caused by drowsy driving. Whether losing focus or even falling asleep momentarily, many find themselves in precarious situations due to their sleepiness. When this happens, there is the possibility of a crash, resulting in harm not just to themselves but to their passengers and to occupants of other vehicles involved in the collision.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that this causes approximately 6,000 fatal accidents annually around the country. While drowsy driving is not seen as negatively as driving while intoxicated, it can have similar catastrophic results. Some of the temporary solutions for drowsing driving include drinking lots of coffee or energy drinks and playing loud music in an attempt to keep awake. However, there is now an electronic device that the maker hopes will be a better fix for the drowsy driving problem by preventing car accidents.

The device, which is worn on the wrist, works by giving a gentle electric shock to the driver to keep drivers awake until they can find a suitable place to park and get some needed sleep. Steer, as the device is called, uses two sensors to monitor both heart beat rate and sweat secretion. If the sensors notice that the heart rate is dropping by 10 beats or more per minute, and that sweat secretion has dropped by one unit from the baseline reading, Steer produces a warning vibration. If the rates drop further, the device delivers a gentle electric shock of low amperage that is not harmful to humans.

It is of course more difficult to prove that a driver has nodded off behind the wheel than it is to show impairment by drugs or alcohol. However, an attorney representing an injured victim could use other evidence such as eyewitness testimony or black box software in the at-fault driver's vehicle.

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