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Rochester tech firm develops app that could help prevent accidents like the tragedy in Brighton

Berkeley Brean
Created: December 03, 2019 06:19 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — On Monday, News10NBC first told about the possible cause of the tragic accident in Brighton last week.

Our News10NBC investigative team learned that the driver fell asleep and drove off the road hitting and killing a nine-year-old girl and her babysitter.

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Watching our story was a man who is developing technology that, he says, can prevent that.

It was the driver's husband who told me his wife fell asleep at the wheel. 

Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi says they're investigating that possibility and testing the car, the driver's phone and the driver's blood to rule other possible factors in or out. 

The technology I saw today can warn you when you're about to fall asleep. 

The car, driven by Ninoshka Vazquez, was going south on Edgewood Avenue the day before Thanksgiving. At a point just before the I-590 overpass, Vazquez’s husband said she fell asleep and drove off the road hitting and killing nine-year-old Mila Ruangsuwana and her babysitter Elmira Hall.

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "You saw the story we reported last night?" 

Dick Kaplan, CurAegis Technologies: "Yes." 

Brean: "And when you watched that, what did you think?"

Kaplan: "I thought if she was using our technology that might not have happened."

Dick Kaplan is the CEO of Curaegis. He used to run Pictometry, one of the most successful tech companies in Rochester. 

For the last five years, he told me his company has been working on technology that reads your circadian rhythm.

Brean: "And when you get that rhythm what does that tell you?"

Kaplan: "It's your body clock. It tells us how your body operates."

Specifically, it monitors your sleep and can tell you how tired you are. You download the app onto your phone, which triggers the monitor in your smartwatch which talks to your smartphone and tells your fatigue score on a scale of 10 to 1. 

Brean: "And you will know how tired you are."

Kaplan: "Yes." 

Brean: "And whether you should be driving or not."

Kaplan: "You'll know your fatigue level in real-time."

Brean: "There are all kinds of devices that track your fatigue."

Kaplan: "Nobody tracks your fatigue. They track your sleep. And they track how much sleep you got and what kind of sleep you got."

Brean: "So this is what makes you stand out."

Kaplan: "We actually tell you how that is affecting your body."

Vazquez is a brand new mother. At the time of the crash last Wednesday she was driving with her one-month-old baby in the back seat. 

Again, it was Vazquez’s husband who told me she fell asleep and Brighton Police are looking into that. BPD has not officially said the cause.

The CurAegis app is going live in January. It will likely cost $2.99. Kaplan says he believes it will reduce truck, bus and train accidents caused by fatigue by 30%.


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