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Improving road safety by effectively monitoring working patterns and overall fitness of drivers

Develop and test in at least 3 different sites innovative technological solutions for evaluating a driver’s fitness. These should include for example:

  • Methods and practical solutions for evaluating driver’s performance and cognitive load, physical fatigue and reaction time. These solutions should go beyond the current state of the art and be suitable for roadside tests with particular focus on commercial drivers, whose working patterns could influence their driving performance. Transitional aspects with regard to automation should be considered and training actions for drivers should also be foreseen. Sex and gender differences should be considered when relevant. The proposed solutions should be interoperable and standardisation possibilities should be explored.
  • Develop efficient, reliable, cost-effective and socially acceptable solutions for detecting impairing psychoactive substances (e.g. alcohol, prescription medicines, illicit or medicinal drugs etc) for which driving under their influence poses a road safety risk. The proposed drug screening devices should fulfil practical and scientific requirements and display at least 20% higher sensitivity (how often the test is positive when the condition of interest is present) and specificity (how often the test is negative when the condition of interest is absent) than the current state of the art.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 to 3.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

Driving is a complex activity. A hierarchy of skills is required for safe driving like operational (basic motor, sensory or perceptual), cognitive, tactical (choice of speed and distance from the other vehicles), and strategic (planning and preparing for long trips). Operational and sometimes cognitive skills typically decline for a variety of factors like ageing, chronic diseases, medication use, fatigue or a combination of these factors. The consequences of such decline on driver fitness are crucial for road safety and some countries already have procedures in place for assessing fitness to drive, nonetheless practical implementations and the assignment of responsibilities differ from country to country.

A driver’s fitness is also greatly affected by the consumption of psychoactive substances (illegal or not), which are incontrovertibly considered one of the major factors for traffic accidents. Establishing practical, reliable, specific and accurate tools for detecting those substances is of primary importance of the law enforcement authorities across EU, especially since their impact on road traffic accidents and associated injuries is undeniably important.

With the objective to further improve road safety, properly monitoring the driver’s fitness and physical state is an ongoing challenge that requires innovative techniques which go beyond existing regulations (e.g Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 - “the 'Driving Time Regulation”- or Regulation (EU) 165/2014 on tachographs in road transport).

  • Practical onsite or affordable screening devices that reliably measure the driver’s fitness and detect the existence of impairing substances.
  • Countermeasures to combat driving impaired by medicines or excess fatigue.
  • More consistent implementation across Member States of fitness to drive regulation and driver training, contributing to EU road safety targets.
  • Standardised solutions for evaluating fitness to drive.