2016 Nissan Maxima, courtesy Nissan

2016 Nissan Maxima, courtesy Nissan

Nissan has announced that its Driver Attention Alert system (DAA) will be part of the 2016 Nissan Maxima’s new safety package, as David Szondy reports for Gizmag. The vehicle, debuting at the New York International Auto Show, is what Szondy calls the “flagship” sedan in the carmaker’s product lineup, and will sell for $32,410.

Chris Burns writes for Slash Gear:

The Nissan DAA system works to adapt itself to every individual driver, monitoring driving behavior consistent with drowsiness and inattention. DAA begins by monitoring steering input patterns during a standard drive – when you’re not falling asleep.

Szondy writes that if DAA detects that a driver is deviating from his or her typical steering patterns, it will chime audibly and light up an amber coffee cup icon on the dashboard display, with the message “Take a break?” Nissan designed DAA in accord with the premise that most drivers show signs of drowsiness gradually, in time for the system to alert them, Szondy adds.

The system “continuously compares driving patterns to your baseline with what Nissan calls a ‘statistical analysis of steering correction errors,’ ” Burns writes. DAA teases out false positives, road curvatures, lane changes, braking, and poor road conditions, Szondy writes, and if it still finds the steering to be aberrant, only then does it sound the alert. Burns writes that DAA is only a warning of a potential lack of driver attention, or of driver drowsiness, and does not detect and provide an alert in every situation. The system resets itself each time the car is turned off, Szondy writes. In addition, the driver can disable DAA, he adds.

There are an estimated 6,400 people killed, and 109,000 injured in the United States annually because of drowsy driving accidents, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In more than half of those car accidents, drivers drift out of lane or off the road, AAA writes.

According to DrowsyDriving.org, drowsiness seriously affects a person’s ability to drive. For example, the organization writes, it can cause slower reaction time; impaired judgment and vision; a decline in attention to road signs, road changes, and other vehicles; decreased alertness, preventing the driver from seeing obstacles and avoiding crashes; increased moodiness and aggressive behavior; and problems with short-term memory and processing information. Drowsy drivers often experience “microsleeps,” in which they sleep for two-thirds of a second at a time, DrowsyDriving.org writes.

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