According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are a massive problem on roads in the United States. The CDC estimates that one out of every 25 drivers over the age of 18 has fallen asleep while driving at some point in the last month. To make matters worse, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that sleeping drivers were responsible for up to 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and an unfortunate 800 deaths in 2013 alone. The startling thing is that these numbers are likely too low – an additional 6,000 deaths each year could be caused by drowsy drivers.
Sadly, this problem is a universal one. There are drivers all over the world who don’t get enough sleep, who suffer with untreated sleep disorders, or who are operating a motor vehicle while on medication – all making them much more likely to drive drowsy. New Zealand, in particular, has been battling this very issue for many years.
Now, however, a solution may have presented itself. Garmin New Zealand has recently introduced two new state-of-the-art dashboard camera units into the local marketplace. The models, dubbed Dash Cam 45 and Dash Cam 55, include features that are designed to offer advanced driver awareness alerts and to wake up drivers who may have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
New Zealand’s Drowsy Driver Problem
According to the technical specifications on the two new models released by Garmin, both Dash Cam 45 and Dash Cam 55 use new features like advanced forward collision and lane departure warnings, all of which would be hugely beneficial in terms of avoiding an incident if a driver has fallen asleep while driving. Representatives for the company said that the goal with the new models was to give drivers the ability to do more than just record a drive. It isn’t about capturing as much detail as possible in the event of an accident – it’s about doing whatever it takes to avoid that incident altogether.
The more advanced of the two new units – Dash Cam 55 – features high quality recording that can offer resolutions of 1440p, 1080p, or 720p thanks to the built-in 3.1 megapixel camera. Dash Cam 45 also offers multiple resolutions – 1080p or 720p, thanks to its 2.1 megapixel camera. Both units are intended to be as discreet as possible, blending in with the existing hardware in the car and offering a 2.0 inch LCD display screen that does not impair the driver’s line of sight in any way.
Taking things one step farther, both models also use Garmin’s proprietary “Sensory TrulyHandsfree” voice control system that allow operators to interact with the device through voice commands instead of physical ones. Saying “OK Garmin, save video,” for example, will compress the last few minutes of recording into a file for easy transfer to a device like a computer. Both Dash Cam models also feature Travelapse, a new feature that will take hours of recorded footage and compress it down into a few minutes of highlights.
Both Dash Cam 45 and Dash Cam 55 also offer the latest revisions of certain features that have become a staple of Garmin’s equipment over the years, like automatic incident detection. This allows the GPS to automatically save footage on impact, giving the driver one less thing to have to worry about in such a stressful situation. GPS capabilities are also included, allowing each video or photo to be automatically tagged with detailed information like time, location, and more.
With systems as advanced as these, it’s natural for people to become dependent on technology – but, in this case, technology only treats the symptom, not the disease. Making an effort to get enough sleep and recognizing the early signs of drowsy driving (like constantly yawning or missing your exit on a highway) are still the best ways to prevent accidents due to these and other impaired driving conditions.