Video-based observer rated sleepiness versus self-reported subjective sleepiness in real road driving

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Observer-rated sleepiness (ORS) based on video recordings of the driver’s face is often used when analysing naturalistic driving data. The aim of this study is to investigate if ORS ratings agree with subjective self-reported sleepiness (SRS).

Forty raters assessed 54 video-clips showing drivers with varying levels of sleepiness. The video-clips were recorded during a field experiment focusing on driver sleepiness using the same cameras that are typically used in large-scale field studies. The weak results prompted a second test. Ten human factors researchers made pairwise comparisons of videos showing the same four participants in an alert versus a very sleepy condition. The task was simply to select the video-clip where the driver was sleepy.

The overall average percentage of video segments where ORS and SRS matched was 41 % in Test 1. ORS 0 (alert) and ORS 2 (very sleepy) were easier to score than ORS 1 and it was slightly harder to rate night-time drives. Inter-rater agreement was low, with average Pearson’s r correlations of 0.19 and Krippendorff’s alpha of 0.15. In Test 2, the average Pearson’s r correlations was 0.35 and Krippendorff’s alpha was 0.62. The correspondence between ORS and SRS showed an agreement of 35 %.

The results indicate that ORS ratings based on real road video recordings correspond poorly with SRS and have low inter-rater agreement. Further research is necessary in order to further evaluate the usefulness of ORS as a measure of sleepiness.

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