Driver Monitoring Systems: Safety vs Privacy

Standox October

It’s becoming increasingly dangerous on roads across the globe every day, with more and more motor vehicle accidents taking place and more people getting injured, or even killed. However, as technology evolves around us, so does the safety features in our cars. Driver monitoring systems are technology features in cars that improve driver safety and awareness while driving by monitoring the driver’s behaviour for tell-tale signs of distraction, tiredness, or any kind of behaviour that may cause an accident.

However, this technology is still being developed and its success rate is not yet as accurate or advanced as it could be. It is an extremely advanced problem; having artificial intelligence developed to detect and analyse human emotion and behaviour. These systems need to be able to monitor and analyse the face and voice of a driver for physical or mental distraction or drowsiness. This can be done by installing small cameras and other technology in the car. These systems can then monitor a driver’s fatigue and assistant with alerts and correction of dangerous driving. These alerts can range from the car increasing the volume on the stereo system and playing lively music, vibrating the steering wheel or seat belt, changing the climate control, or displaying alerts and recommendations to take a break. These systems also monitor driver distraction with suitable alerts that help the driver focus on the road. In some vehicles, the car can even take over control from the driver.

This opens up another point of discussion: user privacy. Yes, driver monitoring systems are extremely helpful in avoiding fatal collisions and keeping drivers and the roads safe, but are these monitoring systems not invading personal privacy, or ‘spying’, on us? Being monitored constantly can have detrimental outcomes. If you think about all of the private conversations you have in your car, and how much information you unwillingly share, privacy becomes a big concern. Some driver monitoring systems, however, do not record personal data – they only monitor and alert, and nothing else. And although this is a little bit reassuring, how can we ever be 100% sure that our personal data is not being shared?

If you are considering purchasing a vehicle with a driver monitoring system, it is best to do your research before you make a decision. Having a system in your vehicle that can potentially save your or someone’s else’s life is a big drawing card. Just ensure you are also aware that your privacy may be compromised.


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