For many years the trucking industry has sought to address the worsening shortage of qualified heavy-duty truck drivers by seeking to recruit drivers who are younger than the 21-year-old minimum age currently set by federal regulation.
The American Transportation Research Institute has been working on the problem and believes its researchers may have come up with a realistic solution.
ATRI recently released the results of the Phase 1 Beta Test of its Younger Driver Assessment Tool. The YDA is designed to identify the safest drivers among 18-20 year olds, a critical component of expanding interstate Commercial Driver License eligibility to younger drivers.
A total of 94 drivers took the beta test. Drivers represented a broad range of ages (20-60 years old), driving experience and safety performance. Among the measures tested were personality traits, reasoning, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, sleep quality and cognitive control.
Drivers in the safest group had the highest scores on conscientiousness and agreeableness, and lowest scores on experience-seeking, regardless of age
Additionally, drivers in the “less safe” group exhibited marginally greater sensitivity to conflict in the Multi-Source Interference Task, indicating difficulties with cognitive control.
While ATRI’s beta test only included 16 drivers under the age of 30, the assessment did show sensitivity to age-related variations in performance.
The age sensitivity relationship to safety also materialized in older drivers who had fewer years of experience, so Phase 2 of the test to be conducted later this year wills attempt to identify younger drivers with the cognitive and mental attributes of mature, experienced drivers.