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Detection of drowsiness while driving is a leading objective in advanced driver assistance systems. This work presents a new index to assess the alertness state of drivers based on the respiratory dynamics derived from an inductive band. More than 100 hours of driving in real environments from 13 healthy subjects were analyzed. The proposed method has a sensitivity of 93.7% and specificity of 86.3% in detecting full awake drivers while it has a sensitivity of 83.1% and specificity of 95.3% in detecting drowsy drivers. The results show that the proposed index may be promising to assess the alertness state of real drivers.