What makes an Effective International Driver Risk Assessment?

Over 90% of the world’s road deaths occur in low and middle income countries; with type of roads, the type and age of vehicles in use within countries and the availability of quality health care following a road traffic collision being some of the factors responsible.  It is predicted that without an increase in road safety efforts, road traffic crashes will result in 2.3 million fatalities across the world by 2020 (Luoma and Sivak, 2007).

The most significant increase in road fatalities and injuries in the years to come will not be in developed countries. On the contrary, the developed world is predicted to demonstrate a reduction in the number of fatalities. However, the outlook for developing countries is bleak as they may face steep increases in motorisation without sufficient development of the road infrastructure, law enforcement and education. It is therefore essential that organisations with a footprint in developing countries take steps to manage fleet driver risk for their workforce operating in high risk regions.

DriverMetrics® provides driver risk assessments worldwide and are currently operating in almost 30 countries. We are keen to ensure that the Driver Risk Index™ accurately assesses risk with appropriate benchmarks for each country and have developed a robust process for its use internationally.

A key tenet of our approach to behaviour based safety is that the Driver Risk Index™ used to identify risk is as closely targeted to the driver population to be assessed as possible. It is for this reason that we have developed specific Driver Risk Index™ variants for different driver groups e.g. Fleet, Truck, Bus etc. Each variant has its own research programme for specific driver groups. Each variant has been investigated across several studies. The results have shown a different factor structure to describe behavioural risk factors for each variant. For example, driving a bus is associated with different behavioural risk factors compared with driving a truck because the nature of the driving is different according to the context of the work.

We have extended this targeted approach in the international domain by using the following two stage process

1. Translate the Driver Risk Index™ and web interface (including Management Information System) into the relevant language using a forward and backward translation procedure.

2. Conduct a benchmarking study in the target country.

It would not be appropriate to assess drivers in developing countries against drivers in developed countries given the large differences in risk that may be exist between them.  The benchmarking study involves selecting a representative sample of the local driver population in the target country and asking them to complete the relevant Driver Risk Index™. The results are entered into the DriverMetrics system so that when a driver completes the Driver Risk Index™ they are being assessed against the relevant norm from their own country. Our geographically relevant norms therefore take into account cultural differences and regional risk levels.

The result is an assessment that measures individual driver risk levels against drivers operating in the same cultural and environmental context. Furthermore, this means that a fair picture is given of risk by comparing like with like.

References

Luoma, J. and Sivak, M. (2007).  Characteristics and availability of fatal road-crash databases in 20 countries worldwide, Journal of Safety Research, 38, 323-327.