About 1,800 bracelets have been distributed to bus drivers on intercity routes and highways since September 21, the Beijing Daily reported.
The officials said the device will be used to monitor the driver’s vital physical signs and emotional state in real time to improve safety.
The new request was issued after a bus crash in the southern Chinese city of Guiyang, guizhou province, that killed 27 people and injured 20 last week, as they were on their way to an isolation center.
The bracelet has the function of monitoring body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen levels, exercise levels, blood pressure and sleep.
They also track both emotional states such as anxiety and public transport companies that can access the data that the device stores.
Bus drivers working in Beijing’s Tongzhou district and several central roads have been involved in testing the device since early June.
“The provision of tracking bracelets is a way of applying technology to enhance the management of physical and mental health for drivers,” the Beijing Public Transport Corporation said in a social media post at the time.
Wang Congwei, director of cybersecurity legal affairs at Jingsh Law Firm in Beijing, said the decision appeared to stem from “growing concern for public safety, as traffic accidents occur more frequently this year.”
“But we have to look at whether it’s really necessary to collect that much personal information of bus drivers,” the experts said.
Wang also questioned whether authorities would have enough time to intervene if the wearable detected abnormaliites, even if the data was collected in real time.
“The data was probably only really used later to analyze accidents,” Wang added.
Calvin , an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, noted accuracy is also an issue.
“It is necessary to consider the reliability and accuracy of such devices when reporting on the health and emotional condition of the wearer because if incorrect, they can lead to unnecessary inconveniences, even discriminatory behavior towards drivers,” he said.
Beijing’s long-distance bus drivers are being asked to wear electronic bracelets that monitor their mental and physical state.
The move, initiated by the state-run Beijing Public Transport Corporation, is aimed at ensuring the safety of passenger vehicles.