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The right mental attitude to drive?

Psychometric tests should be part of driving test

PSYCHOLOGICAL assessments should become part of the UK driving test, according to Rob Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).

He says the current system fails to ‘root out’ drivers prone to breaking rules and psychometric tests could help to identify people with the wrong attitude to the road.

The call came as the Driving Standards Agency carries out a review of how people learn to drive and the House of Commons Transport Select Committee conducts an inquiry into young drivers and their safety on the road.

In the fleet market, Peak Performance is leading the way in the use of psychological assessments to determine those company drivers most at risk, and has developed unique coaching courses, workshops and behind the wheel training based on drivers’ behaviours in conjunction with Cranfield University.

Peak Performance, which counts contract hire and leasing company ALD Automotive among its business partners, says the call for psychometric testing to be included within the driving test was very much in line with its own thinking

Managing director James Sutherland said: ‘A driving-based psychometric assessment can really get inside the mind of the driver and identify driving behaviours most likely to place him or her at risk, while specific driver coaching, be it in workshops or behind the wheel, can help modify or correct those attitudes and behaviours.’

Gifford said the current test assessed people’s technical ability - their hand, eye and foot co-ordination - but failed to look at their psychological attitude to the road such as assessing whether they saw themselves as risk-takers, making them more likely to break the speed limit or jump a red light.

He said a psychometric assessment would help identify such faults and instructors and examiners would then be able to modify the person’s behaviour.

Gifford said: ‘In addition to the multiple choice questions that there are in the theory test at the moment - we would give people a series of value judgements. These could include, ‘At what speed would you anticipate driving down this road?’ or ‘Have you ever left the traffic lights while they have been on red?’.

‘We would ask people the extent to which they agree or disagree with these statements. It would be a way of picking up their underlying values rather than just the facts that they have at their disposal, which are a series of multiple choice questions.’ (Peak Performance: June 12/ June 9).

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