Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis 4 Individual Differences and the ‘High-Risk’ Commercial Driver

  • Published: Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP)Transportation Research Board, 2004
  • Authors: Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP)Transportation Research Board
  • Date Added: 05 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 05 Mar 2013
  • Format: pdf

Objectives:

For each topic, the project objectives are:

  • To locate and assemble documented information;
  • To learn what practices have been used for solving or alleviating problems;
  • To identify relevant, ongoing research;To learn what problems remain largely unsolved; and
  • To organize, evaluate, and document the useful information that is acquired.

Methodology:

Literature reviews formed part of the work in this synthesis but the predominant source of data was from surveys of safety managers and other experts in the industry.

Key Findings:

  • Survey findings strongly support the notion that high-risk drivers are a real and significant problem and that individual differences in safety among drivers are enduring.

  • Large individual differences have been seen in the rate of driver involvement in traffic ‘near-miss’ incidents, and 12 per cent of the drivers in the study were associated with 38 per cent of the incidents.

  • Evidence suggests that individual differences in personality and performance predispose some people to increased RTI risk.

  • Driver errors can be violations of rules, mistakes of judgment, inattention errors, or inexperience errors. Common driver errors resulting in RTIs include recognition errors and decision errors, or poor decision-making in dynamic traffic situations.

  • Fleet safety management approaches to preventing high-risk-driver–related RTIs revolve around the basic management functions of selection and hiring, performance evaluation, and driver safety management practices.

  • The clearest advice to safety managers is, “Don’t hire a problem.”

Once drivers are hired, there are various ways to monitor their driving behaviours and modify their behaviour in ways that reduce risk:

    • Performance evaluation and feedback (perhaps enhanced by on-board safety monitoring of driver behaviour);
    • Training and counselling, performance incentives;
    • Behaviour-based safety; and
    • Driver self-management are among the methods described.
  • Termination may be the ultimate solution when drivers are unmanageable from the safety perspective.

Themes:

High-risk drivers, Safety management.

Comments:

High-risk drivers present a problem in all commercial transport operations. Therefore identification and appropriate management are important aspects of safety within bus and coach companies.

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