|Mobile SmartTracking: Determining Fitness to Drive|
| Posted on 30/05/2014 - 06:02|
Alcohol and drugs often play an important role in traffic accidents. The police look for these during roadside controls. The effects of some drugs are hard to quantify. Our aim is to provide an obective mobile tool for determining fitness to drive.
Traffic accidents don’t just happen - they occur for a reason, e.g. simple carelessness. Alcohol or drugs may also seriously impede a driver’s fitness. During roadside controls, police officers look for clues pointing to their use. Misuse of alcohol can be assessed with relative ease, but the use other (newer) drugs may be harder to detect and to quantify. Thus, police officers will often base their decision on whether to perform more extensive, time consuming/expensive lab tests on their subjective impression. Unnecessary tests as well as letting unfit drivers continue may have negative consequences, ranging at best from unnecessary costs to serious consequences for innocent third parties. In this context, an objective easy-to-use tool, which we aim to provide, would be highly desirable.
While alcohol is easily detectable during roadside tests (e.g., using a breathalizer), this is not true for other drugs; some may even be hard to find using lab tests although they certainly have an influence on a driver's fitness. Psychophysical test suites (e.g., specific reaction tests) can be used in such a context but these are usually found in a laboratory setting. Often, they also suffer from complexity. By implementing objective and standardized mobile test methods, we aim at providing police officers with a highly portable and more objective tool for rating whether someone is fit to drive. Part 1 of the grant will be used for selecting a promising mobile test method and implementing said method on a mobile device, while part 2 will go towards extensive testing.
Target group and social impact
Traffic accidents and their consequences (disabilites, emotional effects) have a negative impact on society, not only due to their immediate costs but also because of long term effects (e.g., disabilites) for the people involved. Continually raising awareness about factors contributing to traffic accidents as well as preventing them may thus be highly beneficial. The implementation of reliable and standardized mobile tests in the featured app can be used to achieve both goals: The app can serve support police officers in more reliably determining whether someone is fit to drive, thus potentially preventing accidents and their consequences for society. An adapted version, e.g. in the form of a game, could also be provided to the general public to raise awareness in a playfull manner.
Competences of the applicant
Urs is a trained physician and Deputy Director of the P.L. Reichertz Institute for Med. Informatics. He leads a multidisciplinary and multinational research group on mobile health at Hannover Medical School. He is also the Secretary of the Ethics Commission at the same institution. Besides reseraching the ethical and legal framework of Medical Apps, the team develops award winning health apps.
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