Calculator scores sleep needs
A CALCULATOR that gauges driver fatigue will soon be available as a mobile phone application and at touch-screen kiosks.
Former hospitality worker Natalie Tindale invented the Fatigue Calculator after experiencing ‘‘micro sleeps’’ while driving after working 12-hour shifts for 14 days straight.
It was developed over 12 months in collaboration with Professor Drew Dawson, director of the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia.
From next month its functions will become available as an iPhone or mobile phone ‘‘app’’ costing less than $50.
It may also soon be available on touch-screen kiosks at service stations, fatigue rest stops on highways, truck depots and work sites.
Prof Dawson said fatigue was one of the ‘‘fatal four’’
I know it would have saved me a few serious scares
causes of road accidents along with drink driving, speeding and not wearing seat belts.
Tindale said the calculator allowed the user to forecast their fatigue and plan how much sleep they need before long work shifts or driving stints.
‘‘I used to work in a mine in Mackay and I know it would have saved me a few serious scares and close calls if I’d known the risks associated with fatigue and had a way to manage it,’’ she said.
‘‘The problem is people don’t think they are tired. It’s like being drunk. People still think they can drive and aren’t aware just how tired they are,’’ she said.
The user enters information into the calculator on how much sleep they have had in the past 24 and 48 hours and how many hours they have been awake.
The calculator then provides a ‘‘Fatigue Likelihood Score’’ of either low, moderate, high or extreme fatigue.
Law student Nicole Seeney, 23, uses the calculator juggling a full-time job as a marketing manager at a real estate agency and fulltime external study.
’’It’s not uncommon for me to be quite tired, so it’s important for me to know if it’s safe to drive.’’
Natalie Tindale, with the Fatigue Calculator