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IDENTIFICATION OF THE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING TO OBTAIN DRIVING PRIVILEGES ON AIRFIELDS SUMMARY Airfield driver training programs vary from one airport to another. However, there are more similarities than there are differences. This appears to be the case whether the airport is a large hub primary airport or a small general aviation airport. Each airport operator has designed its program to fit its individuality and complexity. It is accepted that airfield driver training pro- grams are necessary to help prevent and reduce runway incursions that may be caused by vehicle drivers on the movement areas (taxiways and runways) of an airport. Many airport operators also require drivers who are not authorized to drive on the movement area to complete a driver training course for the non-movement area (ramps and aprons). Basically, airport operators know that, owing to congestion and distractions on the ramps and aprons, the best way to promote safety is to ensure that there are rules and regulations to help prevent accidents and that personnel who work on those ramps and aprons are aware of the dangers that exist. A survey was developed that contained 60 questions on driving requirements adopted by airport operators. The purpose was to review what differences and similarities might exist among the various airports throughout the country. There were also questions on the type of training programs available to airport employees to see if there were differences in these programs based on where the employees were authorized to drive. Other questions dealt with initial training programs as well as recurrent training program requirements. One hun- dred and five airports were selected to participate in the survey. These airports included very large airports, medium and small airports, and general aviation airports. The survey was sent electronically to each of the airport operators with an introductory letter from ACRP. Of the 105 surveys distributed, 76 were returned for a response rate of 72%. Although the survey did not solicit comments, several respondents included them either on the survey or in the return e-mail. The data in the report are based on the results of the survey. Although many airport operators require all personnel who drive on the non-movement areas of an airport to complete the airport's driver training program, some do not. At some of the very large airports, there can be upward of 20,000 individuals who have authorization to drive on the non-movement areas. At smaller airports, the number drops significantly, to fewer than 100. Depending on the layout of the airfield, many airport operators limit access to the movement area to their employees only, which significantly reduces the number of peo- ple accessing the movement area. Many airports have designed their driver training programs so that there are two separate curriculums, one for those employees who have access to the non-movement area only, and one for those who need access to the movement area. The pro- gram for access to movement areas is more comprehensive and detailed. A training program for non-movement areas may consist of issues such as speed limits and the dangers of aircraft jet blast. Programs for movement areas include such issues as communications with air traffic and the meaning of airfield signage and marking. Many airports also have recurrent training requirements, primarily for those employees who are authorized to drive on the movement area, but also, in some cases, for drivers on non- movement areas. One of the primary reasons for this is for the prevention of runway incur- sions. Ensuring that employees are constantly reminded of the dangers of driving in areas that
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2 are used by aircraft and emphasizing the driving rules, regulations, and procedures can only reinforce that runway incursion prevention and safety are top priorities of the airport opera- tor. In August 2007, the FAA sponsored a "Call to Action" workshop to improve airport safety where it is threatened by runway incursions. All certificated airports were asked to vol- untarily develop plans to require annual recurrent training for all individuals with access to movement areas such as runways and taxiways. According to the June 2008 Runway Safety Report, 91% of certificated airports agreed to step up to the "Call to Action" challenge. Airport operators also use a variety of training methods. Some have prepared driver train- ing manuals, similar to those found in state departments of motor vehicles; some provide classroom training; some use computers; and some implement combinations of these different methods. A written test is not uncommon, nor is on-the-job training, especially for movement area driving privileges. Surprisingly, the number of airports that teach the driver training pro- gram in languages other than English is relatively small; only 4 of 75 airports that responded to this question present the option of learning the driver training program in Spanish. However, 21 airport operators allowed interpreters to assist employees whose primary language is not English in taking the required tests. Ultimately, in some areas, driver training programs are diverse, such as, for example, the length of time for the initial training and the requirement for recurrent training, how often their driver training programs are updated, and whether recurrent driver training is required, whereas in other areas, driver training programs are quite similar, such as the type of subjects contained in these programs and who conducts the movement area training on the airport. Further research needs include follow-up studies to compare costs of training personnel using computer-based programs and classroom-type training. Training programs of this mag- nitude do not come without cost to the airport operators and to the tenants. This research could also focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of training and determine if one is more beneficial than another. Also, with the recent emphasis on ramp and apron safety, additional research may be needed to study the viability of instituting a voluntary reporting system for accidents and incidents that occur on ramps and aprons. In this way, it would be possible to achieve a better under- standing of the magnitude of the dangers of operating on these areas of an airport, as well as a better understanding of the causes of such problems.