Maintenance, Operations and Security

Objective roadside tool to measure fatigued driving

Driver fatigue is an ongoing concern in traffic safety. NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving causes 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths each year in the United States. In 2012, 443 crashes were attributed to drowsy driving in Minnesota alone. Populations such as long-haul truck drivers and snowplow drivers whose work hours are often long and erratic are especially susceptible to fatigued driving. This highlights the need to develop and validate a comprehensive technological solution to monitor, prevent, and enforce against fatigued driving.

This project aims to validate an objective roadside technological tool to assess fatigue. The roadside tool will utilize a reliable and established visual psychophysics method to measure a person’s state of arousal. The main outcomes of the project include: 1) developing a portable, cost effective, and non-invasive measurement tool to assess fatigue, 2) identifying a threshold for impairment against which measurements may be compared (e.g., examining snowplow drivers, long-haul commercial truck drivers), and 3) developing roadside application procedures to assist state law enforcement in utilizing this tool.


Submitted by

Idea Submitted by: Nichole Morris

List your MnDOT Office,District,City, County, Univ. or Other: University of Minnesota, HumanFIRST

Idea Champion - Who at MnDOT/LRRB? : Brad Estochen

Project Type - MnDOT or LRRB / Research, Implementation or TRS: Destination Innovation

Idea Status (moderator): posted on RFP, proposal received

Stage: RFP

Feedback Score

9 votes
9 up votes
0 down votes

Idea Details

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  1. Comment

    Will the focus be on MnDOT CDL drivers only (versus private haulers)? While snowfighters do work long hours and under tough conditions, I have not heard MnDOT districts raise this concern.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      NLMORRIS ( Idea Submitter )

      Thank you Steve for your comments. Our long term goal would be to apply this measurement tool to all CDL drivers and, even longer term, potentially to anyone under the suspicion by law enforcement of drowsy driving. Previous work by our research team suggests this method works most reliably when a baseline measurement (i.e. measurement when driver is fully alert) has been taken first to later accurately determine if they are in a fatigued state. It will take more extensive, long term testing across larger populations to collect enough data to potentially establish a threshold that could be applied to all drivers on a first time measurement basis to objectively determine they are fatigued (and hold up in court).

      The reason we have chosen snow plow drivers as the population of interest for this study is first in response to a study recently released by VTTI (funded by MnDOT) examining this issue.

      Beyond being identified as a high risk group for driver fatigue, the MnDOT CDL drivers would be a population that we would be able to collect baseline data from while they are alert in order to reliably detect when they are fatigued.

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