Studies have shown that a high precision driver alertness monitoring system is an essential and a monetary countermeasure to reduce the road accidents. This paper presents a novel approach to measure the driver alertness, evaluated by a smartwatch device based on fusion of direct and indirect method. The driver chronic physiological state is monitor by adopting a photoplethysmography sensor on the driver finger that is connected to a wrist-type wearable device. A Bluetooth Low Energy module connected to the wearable device transmits the PPG data to the smartwatch in real-time. Meanwhile, the indirect method, driver steering wheel movement can be derived by utilizing the motion sensors integrated in the smartwatch which include a tri-axis accelerometer and a gyroscope sensors. The respiration signals can be derived from the PPG time- and frequency-domains attributes. The data obtained from both methods aforementioned are subsequently decomposed into relevant features in time, spectral context and phase space domain, and thus computes the alertness index. Here, the correlations between the extracted features and the subjective Koralinska Sleepiness Scale are studied as well along with the recorded experimental videos. This study reveals that the alertness index prediction accuracy can be reached up to 96.3% based on the descriptive extracted features.