OU-Tulsa Professor Developing Technology To Help Avoid Car Crashes


Wednesday, September 29th 2010, 5:07 pm
By: News On 6


By Dan Bewley & Terry Hood, The News On 6

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- A Tulsa man is working to prevent deadly accidents like the one last summer that killed ten people on the Will Rogers Turnpike.

When Donald Creed's truck slammed into a row of parked cars last summer, ten people died. On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board blamed driver fatigue as a main cause of the crash, but recommended more work be done to develop technology to help drivers avoid collisions.

9/28/2010 Related Story: NTSB Cites Fatigue In 2009 I-44 Crash That Killed 10 Motorists

"We've learned from investigating this accident that the approach needs to be multi-pronged, that we need to address the human, the machine, and the environment," said Deborah Hersman, NTSB Board Chairman.

Doctor Hazem Refai, a professor at OU-Tulsa, is developing technology that can help drivers avoid a crash. His focus is on technology to help drivers as they approach an intersection.

"You'd have sensors that detect vehicle presence," he said.

The sensors calculate the time and distance between two vehicles and give drivers the chance to steer out of the way.

But he also says the technology can be applied to warn truck drivers of dangers on the road. Radar units can be mounted on trucks and detect when traffic has stopped on the road ahead. It doesn't actually stop the truck but it does help the driver make a quicker, safer stop.

"It prepare all your braking system to brake the minute, the second you put your foot on the brake pedal, it just applies full power to stop this vehicle ahead of collision," Dr. Refai said.

Dr. Refai said the next big step is technology that would allows vehicle to talk to one another and warn drivers of accidents of traffic jams miles in advance.

9/28/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Trucking Company Working To Fight Driver Fatigue