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Device delivers electric shocks to keep drivers awake

Ohio motorists know that driver fatigue can be dangerous. People who drive while they are drowsy cause as many as 6,000 fatal accidents around the country every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A startup company has put together a device that shocks drivers awake as a way to cut down on these numbers.

The device is meant to work as a warning signal rather than solely a way to wake drivers up. Even though loud music and drinks high in caffeine can keep drivers awake, they do not have a way to let them know when they fall asleep. Ideally, when the device kicks in, motorists would stop on the side of the road to sleep long enough to become alert and drive safely.

The shocking device checks the heart rate and skin conductance of the driver . At first, if the heart rate and skin conductance drop, the wristband device vibrates. After another drop in these physiological measurements, the device delivers an electric pulse that is low in amperage. Even if drivers do not pull off the road to take a nap, they will receive an increase in hormones that can help keep them awake. Cortisol, for example, is a hormone that can provide the driver with more alertness.

Occupants of other vehicles who are injured as a result of drivers who chose to get behind the wheel even though they were sleep-deprived might want to meet with an attorney to see what the next step should be. In some cases, the attorney might be able to negotiate a favorable insurance settlement that would obviate the need to go to court.

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