Psychometric testing of existing driving licence holders.

Aggressive Drivers Identify with Their Car

Psychometric testing of existing driving licence holders is a method of gaining some insight of a drivers road risk. In this blog, I want to look at its relevancy for our driving population, and how it could be implemented, even on learner drivers, who often have inherent ideas and emotions on driving matters.
In forums and media outlets, a common theme for discussion on driving, is that of on-going practical testing of existing licence holders. I find it hard to envisage this ever coming to fruition as there just aren’t enough resources to re-test our current licence holders – apart from those ordered to re-sit tests by a court.

One partial solution – and one widely used by insurance companies and authorities – is to conduct psychometric testing of drivers. Basically, this involves asking drivers a series of questions based around their attitude to certain aspects of motoring, which build up to produce a picture of  an individual drivers attitude. This helps predict how they may be likely to react in certain circumstances. A score is derived from the answers drivers give, and their risk liability is then quantified.  I am sure many could find fault with this system, but it does seem to be gathering kudos in the driving industry.

Given that road traffic accidents cost both companies and local authorities considerable a financial expense, not to mention the awful human costs and emotional tarriff of such events, many companies such as Arriva and Scotrail are using psychometric testing to reduce both cost and casualties. It would appear this has had a significant benificial impact.See this B.B.C. report.

Although this report suggests Arriva cut their fatality rate by almost one third, it would be wrong to think this was all down to psychometric testing. Arriva also implemented a policy of using dipped headlights on their buses at all times, for instance.

A Typical Psychometric Test Question
“The speed limit on the Motorway should be lowered to 60m.p.h.”
Do You: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.

Driver Attitude Survey

Some interesting recent statistics  show:

  • In  Europe study, 80% of drivers believe that  another driver could have prevented the accident they were involved in.
  • Only 5% admitted fault on their part.
  • A majority of drivers thought they were above average  drivers in both  safety and driving skill.
  • Most drivers have the tendency to think that accidents only happen to other people, but will never happen to themselves. Yet, statistics demonstrate that most drivers will have an accident within the first 2-5 years of attaining a driver licence, especially if they’re under the age of 25.

Even if to make drivers more aware of their own attitude and vulnerability it’s hard to argue that psychometric testing could do any harm, and might just be another useful tool in the quest to keep our roads and population safe.