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OCR for page 45
45 CHAPTER 6 RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT NEEDS This synthesis has presented survey results and statistical driver mistakes and misbehaviors, such as tendencies to findings from a number of studies supporting the view that make recognition errors (failure to recognize a crash threat) commercial drivers differ greatly in their levels of crash risk or tendencies to drive aggressively and take risks. A case- and that a relatively small percentage of drivers (perhaps 10 control crash risk study design (e.g., systematically compar- to 15%) account for a disproportionate percentage of total ing crash-involved with noncrash-involved drivers) would be fleet risk (perhaps 30 to 50%). Questions remain about these one way to associate each factor studied with the probability of findings, however. One question is whether the findings are crash involvement (Boyle et al. 2002). Many factors could be reliable or just the result of random variation. Most of the included in the study, and statistical methods like multiple findings cited appear to be reliable (statistically significant), regression could be used to combine factors to derive the best but any systematic new studies on the issue should incorpo- possible predictions of driver risk. Study data could serve as rate rigorous designs and statistical analyses to ensure the the basis for developing and validating practical selection tools reliability of the findings. to be used by fleets to improve the safety quality of drivers The findings presented in this synthesis generally imply, but hired. In addition to findings on personal traits, study results do not verify, that relative driver risk (general and specific, e.g., related to situational factors might help carriers to identify fatigue, aggressive driving) endures across long periods of time. and avoid risky situations such as various schedules, road- In other words, "risk" is to some extent a long-term personal way types, and environmental conditions. trait, in addition to being obviously related to specific situations There is a specific development opportunity relating to the and conditions. A pressing research need is to perform studies identification of individuals with high susceptibility to fatigue to provide answers to the "trait versus state" debate or to incor- while driving. As discussed in Chapter 4, there is compelling porate these questions into various other motor carrier safety evidence of wide individual differences in fatigue susceptibil- studies. The term "accident prone" means different things to ity and further evidence that these differences persist over time. different people and thus has not generally been used in this Given the essential role played by vigilance in driving, it is synthesis. However, there clearly is some truth to the idea, and likely that some individuals are simply constitutionally ill- future research could increase the understanding of it. suited to long-haul commercial driving because they cannot This synthesis (especially Chapter 4) has presented an array sustain alertness under the rigors of commercial transport oper- of personal factors that may be underlying dimensions or cor- ations. Conversely, there are low-susceptible individuals who relates of commercial driver crash risk. The most pressing are unlikely to be involved in fatigue-related incidents and R&D need is systematic and quantitative determination of the crashes. Ideally, a diagnostic tool (e.g., a physiological or role that the many factors discussed play in commercial driver performance test) could be developed to efficiently and accu- risk. A truly systematic approach would review all major rately assess a candidate driver's level of fatigue susceptibil- human characteristics potentially associated with driver crash ity. Such a tool would not diminish the importance and value risk, select the best available tests to measure them (or develop of improved fatigue management by drivers and fleets; rather, new tests), and empirically determine the relation of each fac- the combination of driver selection and alertness-supportive tor to commercial driver crash, violation, and incident involve- management techniques would combine to dramatically ment in the same group of drivers. Of course, the study sample reduce drivers' risks of attentional lapses and falling asleep should be broadly representative of commercial drivers. at the wheel. Both prospective and retrospective comparisons with criterion The various personality and performance variables dis- safety measures could be made. Instrumented vehicles that cussed almost all have some potential for increased use in continuously monitor driver performance might be employed selecting drivers. In most cases, tests of the various person- to provide stronger statistical comparisons, because observed ality and performance factors have already been developed. driver errors and other incidents are likely to be far more While refinements to the various tests would certainly be numerous than reported crashes and traffic violations. Instru- beneficial, the principal development need for most psycho- mented vehicle studies might also enable researchers to assess logical tests is validation in relation to driving safety criteria the relationships of various personal factors to various kinds of and practical application to actual fleet settings.

OCR for page 45
46 Chapter 5 of this synthesis addressed carrier management Management approaches to providing feedback, posi- approaches to addressing the high-risk driver problem and tive rewards and incentives, and, as necessary, nega- capitalizing on the fact that most commercial drivers are not tive discipline to drivers based on OBSM data. In other high risk. R&D is needed in relation to all major driver man- words, what are the best ways to change behavior in agement functions: selection, evaluation, and management positive ways? intervention. Selection-related studies might focus on validat- Legal and litigation risk issues relating to the recording ing the use of specific selection procedures or instruments, of safety performance and behavior-related data. such as selection tests. Criterion-based test validation requires the use of safety performance criteria (e.g., crash, violation, Behavioral safety management in general would be a and incident involvement) to validate the predictive power of worthy topic for motor carrier safety management research. questionnaires, sensory-motor tests, and other types of assess- BBS has been highly successful in other industries, but has ment tools. Several different CMV industry operations types not been widely applied to truck and bus safety, perhaps (e.g., long-haul, short-haul, motor coach) might be employed because of the solitary nature of commercial driving where to ensure that test validity generalizes to different segments of drivers do not work in groups. A systematic long-term study the industry, or to determine if some tests work better in some might assess the applicability and effectiveness of BBS operations than in others. Also, as noted in Chapter 4, any techniques in CMV operations. This could include the use research on underlying factors has the potential to be applied of BBS for drivers in general as well as its use to target the to the practical goal of improving driver selection. driving behavior of problem drivers. Study findings might In the area of driver performance evaluation, a particular R&D opportunity relates to OBSM. OBSM can potentially form the basis for an educational program to teach carrier measure multiple safety-critical driving behaviors that are the safety managers how to effectively employ behavioral man- source of safety outcomes such as crashes. A systematic study agement methods. addressing the safety applications of OBSM might include the The behavioral MIL (Geller 1998) is a positive, heuristic following: model of how different workers respond to behavioral man- agement interventions. Determination of specific fleet man- Assessment of the safety significance of different on- agement practices associated with these levels might help board performance measures. carrier safety managers to use BBS with greater confidence Evaluation of in-vehicle displays and warnings; what is and authority. Individuals who do not respond to the most the best way to communicate information to the driver? vigorous behavioral management interventions are probably Approaches to reducing, analyzing, and benchmarking constitutionally unsuited to commercial driving and should the data. be encouraged to leave the profession.