Cal­cu­la­tor scores sleep needs

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - www.fa­tigue­cal­cu­la­

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

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