An Australian politician is facing heavy criticism after making a bizarre suggestion about cutting down on the number of crashes by administering electric shocks to truck drivers to keep them awake. Politician Responds To Fatal Crashes By Suggesting Shocks For Truckers, Transportation official Melinda Pavey told radio station ABC Radio that in light of recent crashes, electric shock could be an option to keep truck drivers alert. In an on-air interview she stated:
“The technology is now so advanced, a driver can be driving and get an electric shock if they look away from the windscreen for more than two seconds … If a driver is a fluttering their eyes in tiredness or looking away, there are a variety of measures that can alert the driver. That can be through an electronic jab through the seat that gives a slight buzz or a message and some of our best companies are using that technology and investing in their workforce and safety.” Pavey later said that her remark had been taken out of context but that she could not rule out the idea of using electric shock on truck drivers. She said, “If we can’t have a decent honest conversation about the technology available, we have some issues. It’s not the time to put our heads in the sand.”
— PSA NSW (@psansw) January 17, 2018
The statement came after five people were killed in commercial vehicle crashes in New South Wales in a 24 hour period. The Transport Workers Union fired back at Pavey’s suggestion, called her statement “heartless, arrogant and completely incompetent” and pointing out that it was also “deeply offensive to the families of those killed.” If you think Pavey’s idea to shock sleepy drivers is something out of science fiction — think again. There is already a product on the market called Steer which will basically do what she suggests. Steer is a bracelet that monitors a driver’s heart rate. If the device registers that a driver’s heart rate is dropping too low, it assumes that the driver is falling asleep and renders an electric shock to jolt him or her awake.