Attention Assist sounds like something to keep kids focused on homework instead of Game Boy, but it’s Mercedes-Benz’s name for a system intended to keep drivers from falling asleep behind the wheel of the 2010 E-class luxury sedan.
The system watches for frequent sudden small steering corrections to keep the car in its lane, which Mercedes says is one of the primary indicators of drowsy driving.
When the steering corrections and 70 other parameters Mercedes monitors indicate the driver is in danger of falling asleep, the system beeps and the image of an espresso cup lights up in instrument cluster.
Attention Assist is standard equipment on the E-class, which just went on sale at a base price of $48,600.
Mercedes says sleepy drivers are responsible for 100,000 crashes, 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries a year in the United States. Drowsy driving is classified as reckless driving in New Jersey, where it can be charged as a criminal offense.