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10 Improving Safety-Related Rules Compliance in the Public Transportation Industry TCRP Report 81: Toolbox for Transit Operator Fatigue contains approaches for managing oper- ator fatigue (Gertler, Popkin, Nelson, and O'Neil 2002). Workstation Design Workstation design is a potential source of safety-related rules noncompliance. Given that improper securement of wheelchairs is the leading cause of injuries to passengers, Herring and Wolf (2002) conducted an observational study of wheelchair tie down operations in transit buses. They found that the general consensus among bus operators was that systems were very difficult to use, a factor that decreases the probability of compliance. Regarding the vehicle operator's workstation, it is imperative that it be designed considering the principles of human factors and ergonomics. Bucciaglia et al. (1995) suggest beginning the process with an analysis to identify primary and secondary operator tasks. This provides a basis to ensure that all safety-critical controls and displays are in the primary visual area and are easily accessed (Wickens, Lee, Liu, and Becker 2004). Risk Taking Trimpop (1994) defines risk taking as "any consciously, or non-consciously, controlled behavior with a perceived uncertainty about its outcome, and/or about its possible benefits or costs for the physical, economic or psychosocial well-being of oneself or others." In essence, risk taking is acting without fully considering the consequences of one's actions. To a certain extent, we all engage in some form of risk-taking behavior because it is not practical to always fully weigh each and every consequence prior to action. For the sake of efficient and timely behavior, humans engage in heuristic evaluations for decision-making (Matlin 1994). That is, they combine past experience with the present circumstances to take cognitive shortcuts to determine the best possible choice of action. However, because these heuristics are shortcuts, they may exacerbate the uncertainty of the situation at hand. Of interest to public transit agen- cies is the need to identify individuals who may engage heavily in risk-taking behavior to the point that it is either pathological or at least increases the probability of a safety incident during day-to-day operations. Personality and Risk Takers There is a long history in aviation psychology of trying to identify personality features of pilots who are risk takers (Hunter and Burke 1990). Personality is a psychological construct that describes the inherent behavioral attributes of an individual. Personality assumes a set of stable traits that persist across situations. Due to the high risk associated with flight, the avia- tion community was interested in identifying psychometric measures associated with pilots who engaged in risk-taking behavior. However, Besco (1994) conducted a literature review that examined the validity of using personality inventories to predict pilot behavior and found it to be an unreliable method. The approach of looking at personality as the root of error and/or violations comes from Heinrich's early work that suggested that about 80% of industrial accidents results from the human in-the-loop (Heinrich, Peterson, and Roos 1980). Unfortunately, many researchers began to examine what was wrong with the human that caused the error (i.e., personality and/or character flaws). The rationale for this approach is flawed because of the classification of these original studies; they failed to examine the root cause of the industrial incidents. Therefore, the operator was erroneously assigned blame instead of the many contextual fac-
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Understanding Rules Noncompliance 11 tors associated with the situation. This is a well-known social psychological phenomenon known as the fundamental attribution error, whereby negative events are attributed to the personal characteristics of the individual involved in the event without considering the situ- ational factors (Jones and Harris 1967). Situational Factors Looking for character flaws using psychometric tools is not useful for predicting risk taking because it perpetuates the act of blaming the employee; however, it is worthwhile to understand the situations that may lead to increased risk-taking behavior. In this light, researchers have begun to examine the factors that moderate risk perception including its effect on rules com- pliance. Diaz and Resnick (2000) used the Johnson Personality InventoryRevised (JPI-R) and found that the risk-taking scale measures of this test were positively correlated with personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance. The researchers discuss that there are multiple factors that influence risk perception including time on the job without incident. The longer someone is employed, the more likely he or she is to have encountered a hazardous situation and perhaps recovered from it. Recovery from these events can lead to overconfidence in one's ability or com- placence thereby negatively influencing risk perception as is evident in pilot risk taking during adverse weather (Pauley and O'Hare 2008). Research in driver behavior demonstrates that oper- ator overconfidence is associated with an impaired ability to evaluate a driver's own performance (Kidd and Monk 2009). Therefore, inflated driver confidence makes it unlikely that mistakes will be acknowledged and recovered from. Gonzalez and Sawicka (2003) refer to risk homeostasis theory that was developed in the con- text of automobile safety. The theory involves a model that presents the actual risk of a situation and contrasts it with the perceived risk. The discrepancy between the two is modulated by the individual's ability to accurately perceive the risk (perceptual skills) and to make an appropriate decision about what sort of adjustment is necessary (decision-making skills). Both types of skills are heavily influenced by experience, or top-down processing. The aforementioned theory is related to Kahneman and Tversky's (1979) prospect theory which suggests that people either grossly overestimate the likelihood of improbable events or fail to consider them a possibility at all. The latter is a bias that may lead employees to underestimate the possibility of disastrous events. These biases are evident immediately after safety incidents. Workers often become hypervigilant after an accident followed by a steady decrease in safety vig- ilance as time goes on. As such, a decline in safety vigilance can become an organizational haz- ard where the organization, like individuals, becomes complacent over time underestimating the possibility of an unexpected safety occurrence. Predicting Risk-Taking Behavior While risk perception helps to explain why some people are more likely to take chances than others, past behavior can also be used as a predictor of future behavior. Using a logistic regres- sion analysis of approximately 309,000 pilot records, McFadden (2002) showed that driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions were associated with alcohol-related aviation accidents. Pilots convicted of driving while intoxicated were 3.5 times more likely than pilots without these types of convictions to have alcohol-related general aviation accidents. In commercial aviation, pilots with a history of DWI were more likely to engage in risky flight maneuvers than pilots with no such history. Most of the research conducted on attitudes involving risk used explicit measures of attitude. Explicit measures rely on self-report and are not always a reliable indicator of a person's attitude,