Can We End Drowsy Driving By Making Boring Cars More Exciting?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out on Friday with some pretty sobering information about people falling asleep at the wheel that indicates about 4 percent of drivers have admitted to dozing off while driving, and experts say the real percentage is much, much higher. More than 300,000 crashes in 2009 were linked to driving while drowsy.

Can We End Drowsy Driving By Making Boring Cars More Exciting?

The question I pose to you Jalops: Are there ways technology actually makes you more alert while driving? Mercedes-Benz and Volvo tell you it's time for a coffee break if computers that live in the steering wheel and in other controls determine your reflexes are lazy like you've had too much scotch. The seat in the Cadillac XTS vibrates pretty much any time the car thinks you're doing something wrong, like drifting out of your lane or about to back into someone.

So is the solution to fit nannying devices on cars that are boring to drive? I say, why not? These devices tend to be fitted on large cars that are typically bought by older people and are not usually that exciting to drive. But according to the study, it's mostly men between the ages of 25 and 44 (and Texans, oddly enough) who admitted to driving when they're too sleepy. So why not have the driver's seat in, say, a Scion FR-S that threatens to prod your butt if you're falling asleep? Why doesn't the Mercedes actually make you coffee if it's so adamant you need a cup?

Think about this too: According to an Associated Press story from August, the average age of a 2012 Toyota Camry buyer was 51-52 years old in 2012, 9 years younger than it was in 2011. The "sporty" SE model has an average buying age of 45 years old. That means there are a lot more young people buying what has to be the one of the most sleep-inducing new cars on sale.

I know when I'm too tired to drive. It's never a good idea to get into a car when I can barely keep my eyes open, which means my night ends on a friend's couch with his dog trying to lick my face off. It's just a hunch, though, but wouldn't alert handling and responsive steering of something that isn't a big Caddy keep you awake more than if it buzzed and shook your backside?

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