The American Transportation Research Institute has announced that they are taking the first steps toward developing a tool that will identify younger truck drivers who have the same physical and psychological qualities as older veteran drivers.
ATRI At Work Creating Tool To Identify Safe 18 – 20 Year Old Drivers
Today the ATRI released phase one research on the possibility of developing a tool that can tell whether a younger driver is psychologically more similar to an adolescent or and adult driver. The ATRI’s “Younger Driver Assessment Tool” is designed to help identify individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 who have the potential to be safe drivers.
According to the ATRI, younger drivers are underrepresented in the trucking industry, partly because of regulations that forbid interstate operation before the age of 21: “… drivers 20 to 24 years of age represent approximately five percent of individuals employed in the truck transportation sector, while for all industries this age group comprises 9.8 percent of employees.”
Tool To Test For Young Drivers For Psychological, Physical, Traits Of Older Safe Drivers
Part of the reason that the age restricting regulation exits is because drivers between the ages of 18 and 25 are typically viewed as high-risk. “Teens and young adults are overrepresented in fatal motor vehicle crashes, have the lowest observed seat belt use of any age group and regularly use cell phones and other electronic devices while driving,” according to the ATRI.
The research focuses on the relationship between various psychological, physical, and cognitive factors and highway safety. For instance, according to ATRI researchers, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and aggression are all linked to an increased risk of crashes.
Other physical and psychological factors that could impact safe driving ability include ADD, ADHD, sleep disorders, substance abuse, emotional/mood disorders, and obesity.
The ATRI researchers also identified several cognitive factors that make for safer truck drivers. These include problem solving skills, attention, working memory, behavioral flexibility, and the ability to control emotions.
The ATRI says that their next steps will involve actually developing and testing the Younger Driver Assessment Tool to see if it is effectively able to identify safe drivers from a group of entry level applicants. If a smaller beta test shows that the tool has the potential for success, the tool will be tested on a larger scale. Ultimately if the tool is shown to be useful in identifying safe drivers, it “could be used early in the employment process to facilitate driver selection.”