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63 · Assessing, through interviews or questionnaires, driver RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT NEEDS personality traits such as aggressiveness, impulsivity, conscientiousness, agreeableness, manageability, and Research finds new knowledge; development creates new attitudes toward risk. tools. The literature review, survey, and case studies done · Treating signs of driver hostility and anger toward the for this synthesis have revealed opportunities for R&D to law or toward rules as red flags. contribute to better commercial driver selection and higher · Selecting for retention as well as for safety. Driver quality drivers on the road. Most research would seek to employment longevity is generally associated with safe define more sharply driver traits with relationships to safety. driving, in part because personal characteristics asso- Most development would be on tests and other assessments ciated with these two outcomes overlap. usable by carriers or others to screen drivers for hire or for · Putting as much information on company websites as specific duties after hire. The latter might include driving possible about driver requirements and specific hiring tanker trucks or longer combination vehicles, which require procedures. greater skill and are generally higher paying. The relative · Maintaining a detailed and comprehensive assessment lack of assessment R&D relating specifically to commercial file for each driver. drivers is a barrier to carrier use of many promising selec- · Requiring a probationary period for new hires. tion methods. · Conducting internal studies to document and validate selection procedures and their relevant to employment One study already under way is the FMCSA-funded Com- success. mercial Driver Individual Differences Study. This study, just beginning at the time of this writing, is using a case-control In addition to these established practices, this project has methodology. It will compare multiple characteristics of reported research, survey, and interview evidence of the crash- or violation-involved drivers (cases) to other drivers potential value of the following: without histories of unsafe driving (controls). Per the project request for proposal, the study includes medical examina- · Testing physical ability to perform job component tions and a battery of psychological and behavioral history tasks (e.g., carrying, lifting, climbing). measures administered to 21,000 drivers to identify about · Testing "baseline" dynamic performance using a sim- 3,000 cases and 3,000 controls. Extreme groups based on ulator or computer-based test when long-term driver risk will be investigated to maximize the contrast between functional capacity is a concern (e.g., when many older groups and thus the likelihood of meaningful findings. The drivers are hired). comparison of the highest-risk drivers to the lowest-risk · Validating inventory questionnaires (e.g., on attitudes, ones will permit the derivation of odds ratios and other sta- values, and behaviors) on existing drivers and then tistics quantifying the risks associated with various driver using them in new driver selection. characteristics. Factors to be incorporated include driver · Understanding that some desirable human traits like age, gender, height/weight, waist and neck size (for calcu- decisiveness, assertiveness, and high-energy level may lating BMI), marital status, number of children, education, not be necessary for success as a driver. primary language, driving experience, carrier characteris- · Using a job satisfaction/job choice inventory, particu- tics, driving exposure (day and night), safety belt use, crash larly if validated against current employees. and violation history, training, medical history, medication · Observing or otherwise discerning driver safety belt use, sleeping habits, caffeine intake, health-related lifestyle use as a supplemental assessment of driver risk-taking (smoking, alcohol, diet, and exercise), and life stress events. tendencies. · Giving extra scrutiny to single-vehicle crashes seen in Figure 8 in chapter three contains a basic model of crash records. In general, single-vehicle crashes sug- employee selection and the conceptual relation between the gest a greater risk of driver medical problems, fatigue selection ratio and employee quality; the smaller the per- susceptibility, and misbehaviors. centage of applicants selected, the higher the general quality · Using a mental abilities test as a supplement to other of employees selected. Currently, freight volumes are ris- assessments, particularly if also relevant to nondriving ing and carriers need more drivers. The commercial driver tasks (e.g., record keeping, trip planning). Drivers with shortage could reach 350,000 in just a few years. The current higher mental abilities tend to be safer and better bets gradual economic upturn and other factors are likely to keep for longer retention. the driver shortage high over the next decade. Unfortunately · Joining or forming a consortium of similar carriers who for safety, this may make it harder for most carriers to be meet regularly to share information about improving highly selective in the hiring and, in the process, take advan- safety and reducing losses. In such consortia, carriers tage of available and emerging tools for selecting good driv- can share documentation and validation information ers. Lack of selectivity is a strong supply-and-demand-based on improved selection methods. barrier to more rigorous employee selection. Research and
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64 other innovation could demonstrate ways to make the com- of driver selection and alertness-supportive management mercial driver job more attractive, thus increasing applicant techniques would combine to dramatically reduce drivers' risks of attentional lapses and falling asleep at the wheel. pools and lowering selection ratios. This in turn would raise the quality of drivers hired. There would be benefits for both individual carriers and the industry as a whole from such An ultimate R&D goal relating to assessing fatigue sus- research on driver recruiting approaches. A sad irony is that ceptibility would a test to identify a person's chronotype, as the transport industry faces a growing driver shortage even defined and discussed in chapter two. There would also be though overall unemployment percentages are among the benefit from having simple but validated questionnaire on highest in recent history. driver sleep-related habits, history, and attitudes. Valida- tion would require correlation of questionnaire responses Research is needed to verify distractibility as a trait con- with driving outcomes using methodologies described in struct and to determine whether it can be discerned through chapter three. testing. New naturalistic driving data on truck drivers veri- fies LTCCS evidence of the large role distraction plays in Many enduring human qualities affect the ability or the crash risk. WayPoint, discussed in chapters two and three, choice to drive safely. Six categories of such traits and many is a 4-minute Internet-based sensorimotor test in which sub- specific examples have been provided. Nonetheless, safety- jects "connect the dots" amid some distracting visual icons. related traits are not necessarily immutable. They change Based on findings with both truck and car drivers, the devel- with maturation, and safety management techniques like oper of WayPoint has suggested distractibility as a distinct Behavior-Based Safety can change driver attitudes as they driver trait with a U-shaped relation to driving safety. A change behavior. Beyond the scope of this report are the large decrement in performance in the presence of the icons many temporary driver states affecting safety, such as recent suggests that the individual is highly distractible by driving- sleep and moods. On surveys, these were rated about the related stimuli like billboards and cell phone conversations. same as enduring traits as forces affecting safety. Research At the other extreme, little or no decrement in performance is needed on the consistency of safety-relevant driver traits (undistractible) suggests that the individual has "tunnel and ways they may change. Change may be the result of vision" and might not notice peripheral or surprise events. maturation, environmental factors, or management prac- Both extremes are potentially unsafe, while the middle of tices. Some characteristics may be more resistant to change the distractibility scale is said to be ideal. This hypothesis is than others, thus making them relatively more important for interesting and timely given current national concerns about selection. Those amenable to change may be best addressed distracted driving. Distractibility as a human trait deserves through supervisory practices. further research. A small driving simulator study by Kass et al. (2010) explored individual differences in distractibility This report has not delved into theories of personality but not the WayPoint hypothesis. It assessed subjects' ten- and attitudes, but rather emphasizes research findings with dencies toward attention difficulties using a series of ques- practical applications to driver selection. However, theoreti- tionnaires and correlated the results with driving behaviors cal research does have long-term practical benefits. Efforts and crashes on the simulator. Although no crash effect was to develop and apply instruments for selecting safe drivers seen, the independent measures of distractibility did predict would benefit from a better understanding of the structure lane breaks and excessive speeds on the simulator. of human personality and attitudes in relation to driving safety. The Theory of Planned Behavior is one framework to The following R&D need and opportunity, based on sleep identify better predictors of safety behaviors and outcomes. research and articulated in CTBSSP Synthesis 4 on high-risk These predictors could be measured by questionnaires drivers, still exists today: assessing applicant personality traits, attitudes, perceptions of social norms, and perceived behavioral control. All of There is a specific development opportunity relating to the identification of individuals with high susceptibility to these personal attributes are relevant to safety. fatigue while driving.... [T]here is compelling evidence of wide individual differences in fatigue susceptibility, and Surveys done for this synthesis provided useful infor- further evidence that these differences persist over time. mation on the relative views of respondents on various Given the essential role played by vigilance in driving, it is likely that some individuals are simply constitutionally driver risk factors and driver selection practices. How- ill-suited to long-haul commercial driving because they ever, as emphasized, survey samples were convenience cannot sustain alertness under the rigors of commercial samples, not samples representative of larger populations. transport operations. Conversely, there are low-susceptible Development of more representative samples of motor car- individuals who are unlikely to be involved in fatigue- related incidents and crashes. Ideally, a diagnostic tool rier safety managers or other populations of interest would (e.g., a physiological or performance test) could be require more information about those populations and bet- developed to efficiently and accurately assess a candidate ter ways of reaching them. The CTBSSP and other motor driver's level of fatigue susceptibility. Such a tool would carrier research programs would benefit from the develop- not diminish the importance and value of improved fatigue management by drivers and fleets; rather, the combination ment of this capability. More structured surveys would pro-
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65 vide more information on the practices of the overall CMV ences, and crash risk analysis. The motor carrier industry transport industry. needs educational offerings in these areas. Chapters two and three described multiple studies relat- This report has been written primarily from the car- ing various human traits, and measurements from various rier management perspective, because driver selection is psychological tests, to driving safety. Most of these studies performed by managers. The driver perspective has been were not conducted on commercial drivers, and few pro- most evident in report discussions of test characteristics and vided all the validation evidence needed to justify legally requirements, such as test validity. To the extent that tests are and ethically the use of a test for hiring commercial driv- valid, they are also fair to drivers, because they make an accu- ers. More typically, they provided a rationale for resource- rate selection recommendation based on driver traits linked to ful carriers to try out the tests and attempt to validate them job performance. Nevertheless, drivers' perspectives on selec- for their own fleets. Smaller carriers and others without the tion, other job assessments, and other carrier safety practices resources for fleet-based research are not likely to be able to are important in their own right. Future safety studies might perform such validation experiments. Therefore, more com- survey drivers directly or seek input from driver advocates mercial driver selection test validation studies are needed, such as union representatives with experience as drivers. with results made available to the industry. Carriers could replicate these studies in their own fleets to further ensure Because of the exorbitant harm traceable to high-risk fair and legal hiring. Questionnaires and other instruments drivers, much of commercial driver selection is about "find- for driver hiring would need to be designed to prevent driver ing the bad." Yet a positive model of the successful com- applicants from "gaming the system" by providing socially mercial driver--one who is competent, conscientious, desirable answers. agreeable, and manageable--also emerges from information gathered in this synthesis. These drivers may be asocial and A barrier to more widespread and systematic use of selec- autonomous, but they are not antisocial. More research into tion tests and measurements is the technical and legal knowl- driver selection is needed to formalize and fully validate this edge necessary for carrier managers to implement such positive driver model, and to provide information to carriers methods. Topics include statistical measures and concepts, on how to use biodata, questionnaire inventories, and other testing principles, employment law, driver individual differ- assessments to select these drivers.