Trucker hats went from being a stereotype for truckers to a trendy accessory for the fashion-forward. But now they’re becoming futuristic life-saving technology thanks to the work of Ford and GTB, a Brazilian-based company. Ford’s SafeCap uses accelerometers and gyroscopes to recognize when a trucker might be falling asleep (literally nodding off). When the hat senses this, it triggers vibrations and lights within the hat to alert the driver.
The hat is still being tested and marketed in Brazil, but the hope is to develop it for sales and use in other countries. Driver fatigue is a huge problem when it comes to traffic safety. It’s estimated that 1 in 25 drivers have fallen asleep while driving, with drowsy driving being “responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013” per the NHTSA. As it relates to trucking, fatigue was listed as an “associated factor” in roughly 18,000 truck crashes resulting in injury or death that were studied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Hats off to Ford for developing a potentially life-saving piece of technology that truckers are likely to wear and use.