Introduction to Bus and Coach Driver Risk Assessment

It has been well documented that bus driving is a highly stressful occupation resulting from high and conflicting demands placed on the driver and the lack of control the driver has over demanding situations.  Factors built in to the job, such as time pressures, long shifts, and responsibility for passenger safety etc. can all contribute to a driver’s stress vulnerability.

The way a bus and coach driver views the driving context are dependent on interactions between the traffic, the driving situation and the driver’s personality.  This means that stress could be a measurable reaction to specific traffic events or it could result from a more permanent aspect of a person’s make up.  Situational influences include physical factors such as visibility, traffic density and demanding passengers, social factors such as threats to self esteem posed by other drivers; and factors extrinsic to the driving task such as time pressures imposed by work or personal beliefs.  Personality factors can include differences in people’s beliefs about their own competence and coping methods.  Choice of coping strategies to deal with bus driver stress also depends on the situation and the driver’s personality.

The Bus Driver Risk Index™ assessment is designed to assess the individual’s reactions to various demands when driving and how that individual may behave when driving a bus.  The Bus Driver Risk Index™ consists of statements about situations and feelings encountered as a bus or coach driver, which have been shown to be related to stress and safety.  The driver is asked to rate how often they engage in these behaviours or have these feelings on a 10-point Visual Analogue Scale ranging from Never to Always.  Another section of the Bus Driver Risk Index™ assesses the ways in which the individual deals with stressful or frustrating situations that are commonplace in driving.  The driver answers statements about how frequently they use different coping methods on a scale of 0-5 with 0 = Never and 5 = Always.

The Bus Driver Risk Index™ takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.  Responses to the items are computed via an algorithm to provide the final results for each of the factors. The factor scores are then interpreted with reference to a representative norm group to determine whether the individual’s driving behaviour is associated with risk and crash involvement according to research conducted by academics at Cranfield University.

Contact us for more information on the Bus Driver Risk Index™.


Dorn, L, Stephen, L., af Wåhlberg, A. E., & Gandolfi, J (2010). Developing and validating a self-report measure of bus driver behaviour. Ergonomics, 53(12), 1420–14 33.

Dorn, L. & Garwood, L. (2004). Development of a psychometric measure of bus driver behaviour.  Behavioural Research in Road Safety: 13th Seminar, Department for Transport, HMSO.

Dorn, L. Garwood, L & Muncie, H. (2003). The accidents and behaviours of bus drivers. Behavioural Research in Road Safety: 12th Seminar, Department for Transport, Dublin, HMSO.

Garwood, L. & Dorn, L. (2003). Stress vulnerability and choice of coping strategies in UK bus drivers. In L. Dorn. (Ed). Driver Behaviour and Training. Ashgate: Aldershot.