Driver fatigue alarm quick review

CHOICE road-tests these devices to find out how effective they really are.
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01.Driver Fatigue Alarm


Driver Fatigue Alarm (Sound Alert and Vibrating Alert)

Price $49.95 each, includes postage and handling. 

A microsleep or “nodding off” is an unintended period of light sleep which lasts anywhere between two and 30 seconds. The Driver Fatigue Alarm is a microsleep warning device designed to alert fatigued drivers if their head tilts forward into a potentially life threatening microsleep.

CHOICE tested both versions of the device - the sound and vibrating alarm. We found that while they do what they claim, they have limitations and should not be solely relied on to prevent a microsleep. The most obvious drawback is that the device is not activated if the head tilts sideways or backwards, only forwards. 

The alarm is worn behind the right ear and has a motion sensor designed to detect if the wearers head angles forward. The sensor then signals the alarm which then alerts the driver to take corrective action. Before use, the alarm should be switched on and tested, this can be done by tilting the head and mimicking the action of a driver falling into a microsleep. The alert position can be altered to suit the driver by adjusting its angle on the ear. The device comes with pre-installed batteries, as well as two additional sets, a driver fatigue educational guide and instructions for using the alarm.

CHOICE verdict

While the alarm does what it claims, it has its limitations. Rather than relying on the Driver Fatigue Alarm to wake you up from a microsleep, it’s best to recognise the early warning signs; yawning, poor concentration, tired eyes, restlessness, slow reactions, drowsiness, boredom and oversteering, than ignore them and risk falling into a microsleep.




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