This project developed a driver monitoring and crash risk mitigation system, which is called DRIVE-SMART. This Safety Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) project included development and improvement of the electronic hardware and software components, integration, and testing of the system.

DRIVE-SMART is the only system that can provide in a single product a comprehensive risk assessment and driver assistance system. The DRIVE-SMART system assesses in real time five primary risk factors that contribute to an elevated risk of motor vehicle crashes. These include: drowsiness/fatigue, distraction, alcoholrelated impairment, aggressive driving, and seat belt use. As outlined in the body of this report, alcoholimpaired driving contributed to 32 percent of fatal crashes1, aggressive driving contributed to 66 percent of traffic fatalities2, fatigue-related driving contributed to 30 percent of crashes3, and secondary task distractions contributed to approximately 80 percent of crashes4.

These statistics clearly demonstrate that assessment of all of these primary risk factors and successful intervention through timely and dependable notification to drivers and respective authority figures of elevated crash risks will result in improved safety.

The DRIVE-SMART hardware and software development progressed at a rapid rate. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) now has a working hardware prototype that meets or exceeds all of the expectations.   The goal of this Safety IDEA project was to develop and integrate hardware and software for a comprehensive, low-cost, easy-to-install driver monitoring and assistance system.

The result is a prototype DRIVE-SMART system that is capable of providing driver and administrator feedback about five risk factors, including those which contribute to most of the crashes in the United States. In December 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suggested that systems like this be mandated in commercial trucks. That was based upon a growing body of data that suggest that such deployment could help to reduce the number and rates of crashes for equipped vehicles.  The DRIVE-SMART system represents a substantial step forward in both concept and capability of an affordable system.