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Monitoring systems to ensure bus drivers' health on the road

By DU JUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-26 09:05
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Moves to reduce accidents and injuries, protect employees and passengers alike

Beijing has taken measures to improve transport safety management through the use of digital technology, giving drivers 1,800 wristband sensors for the real-time monitoring of vital signs and mental stress.

Beijing Public Transport Group, the capital's main bus operator, recently equipped drivers — particularly those driving on highways or on long cross-provincial trips — with the monitors in an effort to raise safety.

In cooperation with professional institutions, the group has tested more than 40,000 drivers for psychological suitability, with a second round of driver compatibility testing already completed.

With a population of over 21 million, Beijing's motor vehicle ownership, congestion and traffic intensity have all increased rapidly in recent years.

As a result, accidents involving buses, as well as the driving safety of drivers, have drawn increasing attention.

"The emotion-sensing equipment is part of efforts to improve driving safety, which demonstrates care for drivers," said Wu Ruidong, a news commentator. "By using science and technology to ensure public road safety, Beijing has set a good example for the rest of China."

As early as 2018, the Transport Ministry required local transport authorities to monitor the mental health and emotional management of drivers.

In June, the wristbands were given to drivers on some routes in Tongzhou district and the central downtown areas.

The device resembles a watch, and monitors seven indexes including body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen levels, exercise, blood pressure, sleep, as well as depression, anxiety and other emotional states.

"All that data can be updated and also sent to the command center," said Yang Bin, manager of the group's safety and service department.

BPTG has assigned 700 staff to safety management positions.

In addition, digital technology is also being promoted by the company to improve vehicle safety and create better safety mechanisms.

The group plans to install technical protection systems in some of its vehicles this year, including 5,000 recognition systems to monitor abnormal driver behavior and 2,000 safety warning systems.

Both those systems are now included in the standard configuration of new vehicles. By the end of this year, 8,000 of the group's vehicles will be equipped with safety warning systems, 35 percent of its fleet and 6,500 vehicles will be equipped with abnormal behavior recognition systems, 28 percent of its fleet, according to BPTG.

Wang Hao, a 65-year-old former bus driver, said that to avoid mental fatigue is critical to reducing road accidents, decreasing injuries and ensuring safety.

"The new measures are good for both drivers and passengers, and mark a progression for the transportation system through advanced technology."


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