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18 over-involved in rear-end crashes in both striking and struck The findings summarized here should reassure the indus- vehicle roles. The age effect was more pronounced for the try that hiring older drivers, especially the "young old," does striking vehicle (at fault) role than for the struck vehicle. not generally create crash risks. Indeed, these drivers are One possible solution to the younger commercial driver often among the industry's finest. Survey findings echoed this crash problem is graduated licensing, a technique that has view; both safety managers and other experts rated "Older been used successfully for novice non-commercial drivers in Driver (e.g., 60 years old or older)" as among the factors with a number of countries and states (Mayhew and Simpson the least driver crash risk. 2003). Of course, the graduated progression of driving priv- ileges for commercial drivers would be quite different than that applied to teenaged novice drivers. 4.1.2 Gender Corsi and Barnard (2003) found that 59% of high-safety Among the general population of drivers, males have some- fleets, and nearly two-thirds of large fleets, considered age 25+ what higher per-mile crash rates than females in most age to be an "important" or "very important" selection factor in brackets. Their per-driver crash risks (e.g., driver involvement driver employee hiring decisions. The percentage was even rates per 100,000 population) are considerably higher than higher--69%--for hiring owner-operators. In this research females', and their per-driver fatal crash risks are more than project survey, carrier safety managers rated the factor "young twice those of females (NHTSA 2000). However, per-driver driver (e.g., younger than 25 years old)" as having the 6th strongest association with crash risk of the 16 factors in the sur- crash risk statistics may be misleading because males drive sig- vey. Other experts rated it as having the 5th strongest associa- nificantly more miles and thus have far greater exposure risk tion. In contrast, both groups rated "older driver (e.g., 60 years than females. Per-mile crash rate statistics, when available, are old or older)" as having the 12th strongest association with more telling. crash risk among the 16 factors. Women constitute a small percentage of commercial driv- There appears to be no major safety problem relating to ers. In 2001, females were 2.6% of the large truck drivers older truck drivers. In 2001, those 56 years old or older con- involved in fatal crashes, 4.5% of those involved in injury stituted 14.3% of the large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes, and 6.0% of those involved in PDO crashes (FMCSA crashes, 13.2% of those involved in injury crashes, and 2003). Once again, mileage exposure levels are not known, so 11.2% of those involved in PDO crashes (FMCSA 2003). comparative crash rates cannot be generated. These data do Again, mileage exposure levels are not known, so compara- show, however, that female commercial drivers are relatively tive crash rates cannot be generated. less likely than males to be involved in more serious crashes. In the Singh (2003) study of driver attributes and rear-end The Trucking Research Institute and InterScience America crash involvement mentioned above, both young males and (1998) published an FHWA-sponsored study of the effects of young females 18 to 24 years old were more likely than older increasing age on commercial driver performance and safety. drivers to be involved in rear-end crashes. Comparing gen- The study reviewed the scientific literature on the subject and ders, young males and young females had about the same risk measured the performance of different age groups of drivers of involvement in the struck vehicle role. For the striking on a variety of performance tests. The study found that vehicle role, however, young males had about a 50% higher risk of involvement than did young females. · Age alone is not a reliable predictor of job performance. · Age is not a good predictor of sensory-motor abilities. While many perceptual, sensory-motor, and cognitive 4.2 DRIVING HISTORY abilities do generally decline with advancing age, there are huge individual differences within age groups. 4.2.1 Commercial Driving Experience · Drivers past the age of 50 do begin to have slower reac- tion times, stiffer joints, and other physical signs of age. Experience driving a large truck or bus is clearly a factor in Nevertheless, these drivers are often among the safest driver safety. In the research project survey, "inexperienced and most reliable commercial drivers. (new to commercial driving)" received identical high ratings for association with crash risk from the two respondent groups Among non-commercial drivers, older drivers have been (i.e., an average of 3.2 on a 04 scale). This was the 4th found to purposely limit their exposure to driving situations highest-rated factor of the 16 presented. Not surprisingly, they regard as more difficult (Ball et al. 1998). Those drivers most motor carriers, particularly large carriers, require prior with objectively determined difficulties in vision and attention commercial driving experience for applicants to be consid- would avoid situations that would increase these demands. In ered for hiring (Stock 2001). Corsi and Barnard (2003) found other words, they had self-regulating behavior. In commercial that 85% of carrier safety managers consider driving experi- driving, it's likely that many older drivers resign from the pro- ence with other carriers to be an important or very important fession if they find it too demanding or if they feel that their hiring criterion. Similarly, Knipling, Hickman, and Bergoffen declining psychomotor skills are making driving dangerous. (2003) reported that 86% of their carrier safety manager