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ATRI-developed assessment tool used to ID safe, younger drivers

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David Sickels is the Senior Editor of Fleet Equipment. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released the results of the Phase 1 Beta Test of its Younger Driver Assessment Tool. This is the second in a series of technical memoranda from ATRI exploring the potential for an assessment tool to identify the safest drivers among 18- to 20-year-olds.

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ATRI says its beta test administered a comprehensive assessment battery to current commercial truck drivers. Truck drivers who participated in the assessment represented a range of ages (20-60 years old), driving experience and safety performance. Among the measures tested in the assessment were personality traits, reasoning, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, sleep quality and cognitive control. Participating drivers’ safety performance was evaluated using motor vehicle record and pre-employment screening program data on safety violations and crash involvement.

Among the statistically significant findings, the drivers in the safest group based on their MVR and PSP data had the highest scores on “Conscientiousness” and “Agreeableness,” and the lowest scores on “Experience-Seeking.” Additionally, drivers in the “less safe” group exhibited marginally greater sensitivity to conflict in the “Multi-Source Interference Task,” indicating difficulties with cognitive control, ATRI says. While ATRI’s beta test only included 16 drivers under the age of 30, the assessment did show sensitivity to age-related variations in performance. The age sensitivity relationship to safety also materialized in older drivers with fewer years of experience, so the assessment tool is attempting to identify younger drivers with the cognitive and mental attributes of mature, experienced drivers, ATRI says.

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Based on the success of the beta test, ATRI is embarking on an expanded pilot test of the assessment to increase the sample of younger drivers and expand the range of participating driver safety performance.

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