After Shock- Keep yourself Alert and Pissed
(The following topic is occurring in Australia, but could make its’ way to the United States at any moment)
Truckers have different methods for making sure their eyes stay open while on the road. There are some out there who think you should be electrically shocked when you take your eyes off the road for just two seconds?
This is not a joke. But how?
Among the trucking community, there has been a controversial topic circulating since an Australian politician, off-handedly, suggested truckers wear a shocking device on their wrist to prevent trucking accidents. So, what exactly is the bracelet that shocks truckers? It is called “Steer”.
Melinda Pavey, an Australian politician, has caused quite a stir in the trucking industry with some comments she made this past week. The following quotes were taken from www.livetrucking.com:
“The technology now is so advanced, a driver can be driving and get an electric shock if they look away for more than two seconds,” Pavey said. “If a driver is a fluttering their eyes in tiredness or looking away, there are a variety of measures that can alert the driver,” Pavey continued. “That can be through an electronic jab through the seat that gives a slight buzz or a message… Some of our best companies are using that technology and investing in their workforce and safety.”
Pavey’s comments are the result of 5 people being killed in 3 truck-related accidents. From 2016 to 2017, New South Wales saw a 45 percent increase in fatalities resulting from heavy-truck accidents. There is an obvious issue at hand, which is why Pavey is speaking out. You can read some of those comments here. However, some feel that Pavey is jumping to drastic measures instead of ruling out other factors that may be a cause to truck-related accidents.
Electrocuting truckers is not the first solution most people had in mind and this has resulted in widespread backlash on Pavey. The New South Wales State Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, Richard Olsen, has made his opinion heard about what he thinks of Pavey’s idea.“Ms. Pavey’s suggestion is heartless, arrogant and completely incompetent…The proposal to electrocute people in their vehicles is deeply offensive to the families of those killed.” Olsen claims that most of the accidents involving big rigs are due to “extreme and unfair working conditions.”
Pavey’s office has made a statement that she was not explicitly advocating for drivers to wear the bracelets, but that she was just making a general statement on how technology is being used to help prevent accidents. However, this has not prevented backlash over her statements.
Does it work?
People use shocking devices to prevent many bad habits, not just falling asleep behind the wheel of a car. In an article by Jennifer Jolly, you can see that people use shocking devices to prevent them from eating unhealthy food items, wasting time on Facebook and anxiousness. There are many devices listed throughout this article to help these people create different behaviors. Such devices include, “MotivAider”, “RE-vibe”, “Lumo Lift” and “Spire.”
One of the more successful devices that have been used to break certain habits is called “Pavlok.” This device, as well as the others listed, creates a negative association with a specific action also known as “Pavlovian Conditioning.” Pavlok has helped people keep their New Year’s resolutions of losing weight and cutting bad eating habits, as well as helping smokers quit. This is part of the reason why now 10,000 people have bought into using the gadget.
What truckers are saying
Truckers are not in favor of this idea. Some truckers have expressed their opinions in this comment thread from CDL Life saying that the government should not be meddling in truckers lives, that the device could actually cause accidents by causing a trucker to swerve his truck and also that it could interfere with drivers that have heart issues.
With the ELD Mandate bombarding the trucking industry, drivers are not excited about the possibility of another mandate changing the way they work. Although there aren’t any serious considerations yet about truckers needing to wear a device like this, it wouldn’t be too surprising if there were more conversations in the future, especially if there’s a noticeable difference with drivers wearing the device. Don’t be shocked (pun intended) if you start hearing more about “Steer”.