ATRI develops a tool for young drivers

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released the results of the Phase 1 beta test of its young driver assessment tool, which shows promise for the statistically validated assessment to differentiate safer drivers from less safe drivers. This is the second in a series of ATRI technical notes exploring the potential of an assessment tool to identify the safest drivers among 18-20 year olds.

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

Among the statistically significant results, the drivers in the safest group based on their MVR and PSP data had the highest scores on Awareness and Convenience, and the lowest scores on Experience Search. Additionally, drivers in the “less safe” group showed slightly greater conflict sensitivity in the multi-source interference task, indicating difficulties with cognitive control. While ATRI’s beta test only included 16 drivers under the age of 30, the assessment showed sensitivity to age-related performance variations. The relationship between age sensitivity and safety also materialized in older drivers with fewer years of experience.

“Given all the internal and external pressures on recruiting and retaining drivers, it’s safe to say that the driver shortage crisis is not going to go away,” said Joyce Brenny, CEO and Founder of Brenny Transportation. “We need to find ways to expand the pool of safe truck drivers, and ATRI’s preliminary research indicates that it is possible to find safer and younger drivers. At Brenny, our Young Driver Learner Program has a proven track record. Appropriate training and mentoring for young people who wish to become truck drivers is working. “

Following the success of the beta test, ATRI is embarking on an expanded pilot test of the assessment to increase the sample of young drivers and broaden the range of safety performance of participating drivers.

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