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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 113-117

Driver Training: An Effective Tool for Improving Road Safety in India

1 Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, Central Road Research Institute, Mathura Road, New Delhi, India
2 Traffic Planning and Environment Division, Central Road Research Institute, Mathura Road, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication4-Aug-2012

Correspondence Address:
Neelima Chakrabarty
Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, Central Road Research Institute, Mathura Road, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-8580.93243

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Increasing number of road accidents coupled with increasing vehicle population means an increase in the number of aggressive road users resulting in incidence of road rage. Inexperienced drivers often experience anxiety due to their underdeveloped and declining skills, which influence their behavior. Researches done by Lorenz, Schneider and Bukasa, and Siegrist and Roscova have categorized unwanted driving behavior into errors, mistakes, lapses and violations. To highlight the effectiveness of correct training on the drivers' performance, this research work was done in Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) Traffic Psychological Laboratory (the only laboratory of its kind in India). In this study, a purposive sample of two groups of drivers, i.e. highly skilled and trained group of drivers versus city bus drivers, was selected and they were administered the following psychomotor ability tests: i) decision and reaction capacity, ii) concentration capacity, iii) tolerance capacity under stress situation, and iv) special perceptual capacity (visual structuring ability). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) of different test performances of the selected groups showed that specially trained group exhibited significantly superior performance in different tests as compared to the other group. Inappropriate driving behavior is considered one of the major causes of road accidents in India besides defective geometric design of pavement or mechanical defects in vehicles. Due to various unsafe practices among Indian drivers such as lack of lane discipline, disregard to traffic laws, frequent traffic violations, increase in crashes due to self-centered driving, etc. It also demotivates educated drivers from following good driving practices. Hence, improved driver behavior can be an effective countermeasure to reduce the vulnerability of road users and inhibit crash risks. This article highlights improved driver behavior through better driver education, driver training and licensing procedures along with good on-road enforcement (Ashish Verma et al., 2011). On the basis of these findings, the present study was carried out to emphasize the urgent demand of an effective and uniform testing and training system in India.

Keywords: Concentration capacity, decision and reaction capacity, special perceptual capacity (visual structuring ability), tolerance capacity under stress situation

How to cite this article:
Chakrabarty N, Shukla A, Singh H, Shokeen N. Driver Training: An Effective Tool for Improving Road Safety in India. J Eng Technol 2012;2:113-7

How to cite this URL:
Chakrabarty N, Shukla A, Singh H, Shokeen N. Driver Training: An Effective Tool for Improving Road Safety in India. J Eng Technol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2021 Mar 2];2:113-7. Available from: http://www.onlinejet.net/text.asp?2012/2/2/113/93243

   1. Introduction Top

Drivers and other road users, unlike goods, have the capability to realize mobility independently. Various tasks involved in traffic participations are divided into three hierarchical levels, i.e. the strategic, the tactical and the operational level [1]. The strategic level involves route choice and the realization of the selected routes. The tactical level concerns vehicle maneuvering, such as the decision to overtake. The operational level concerns vehicle control in terms of speed control. These levels are hierarchical which implies that decision on a higher level determines the constraints for decision on lower levels [2]. These researches have provided particular attention to the causes, type and prevention of such unsafe behavior. Accidents involving heavy vehicles, e.g. trucks, are a major safety issue because they are involved in majority of cases (around 25% cases) and they cause 30% fatalities in India. A study of NH-8A by Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi [3], showed that trucks were involved as a primary factor in 58% of the total road accidents and as a secondary factor in 61% of the road accidents. The comprehensive analysis by NHAI (2000) of the fatal road accidents by the type of vehicles at different locations in India showed that trucks are involved in 52% cases in Mumbai, 40% in Delhi and 65% on Highways. They are labeled as "Killer Trucks". Training and regulation of such drivers, therefore, needs special attention. Though the government has directed attention to awareness programs, it needs to collaborate state transport departments and traffic police, which are the local licensing and enforcement authorities, into conducting testing and training programs if some measure of success is to be found in reducing the number of road casualties. Important aspects of road safety, e.g. knowledge of traffic rules, regulations and road signs, punishment to drivers violating traffic rules and speed limits, driving under the influence of liquor or drugs (or using mobile phones while driving) and the elementary mechanism of vehicle and driver fitness and upgrading the quality and instructions need to be built into the program imparted by motor driving schools.

1.1 Psychophysical Factors Affecting Road Safety

The human factors governing road-user behavior predominantly involve visual feedback, visual performance, speed adaptation, judgment of relative speed, judgment of spacing, overtaking, reaction time, etc. Some personality factors of the driver may contribute in a significant manner toward road traffic hazard involvement. Personality denotes stable character traits that do not change over short time periods. Emotional stress may produce short- or medium-term departures from an individual's long-term average driving behavior. Driving is a serious responsibility and it demands and deserves full and undivided attention of the driver. However, there are many driver distractions which contribute to crashes and injuries. The level of safety of road system is influenced by all road users among which the driver plays a crucial role in road safety through scanning, processing and applying appropriate action patterns toward oncoming stimuli. Due to the escalating fear of unsafe driving conditions, testing and evaluation of driver's psychophysical ability traits has become an integral part of road safety. Driving is a skill that requires constant and complex co-ordination of mind and body of the driver. It involves multi-task activities, i.e. operating heavy machinery at high speed, navigating across changing terrain, calculating speeds and distances and responding to all the other drivers and obstacles. It becomes all the more difficult to drive on Indian roads (and developing countries in general) where there is lack of lane discipline and the traffic is extremely heterogeneous. A driver's ability to manage driving-related psychomotor functions varies widely and can change from day-to-day depending upon his level of stress and fatigue. A driver requires certain basic skills to perform his driving task efficiently. The skills needed by a driver include the following:

Visual skill (seeing) , e.g. watching the road in front and around the vehicle, using mirrors, shoulder checks, checking gauges, speedometer, etc.

Auditory skill (listening), e.g. squealing of brakes, the sirens of an emergency vehicle, vehicle sounds, etc.

Bio-mechanical (performing hand-eye co-ordination) , e.g. turning the steering wheel, activating signals, headlights, horn, etc.; pressing the accelerator, brakes, clutch, etc.

Cognitive (thinking) , e.g. anticipating any future movements, dynamic route planning, assessing situations such as movements of other vehicles, weather conditions, preparing to avoid hazards, etc.

In a recent study done [4] at Guwahati, India, an attempt was made to identify the shortcomings in physical attributes of the drivers that may pose road safety hazards such as visual acuity, peripheral vision, depth perception, glare recovery, color vision, contrast sensitivity, phoria, etc. Based on the analysis of data collected, the following important findings were reported by them.

   2. Effectiveness of Training and Testing on Different Mechanisms of Behavior Acquisition, Resulting in Drivers' Better Psychomotor Performance Top

2.1 Composition of Sample

Samples were pertaining to two categories of drivers as follows:

Sixty drivers from specially trained group (drivers involved in high responsibility tasks) (group A): These drivers were specially trained for tolerance of the road side hazards and other road side threats.

Other 60 drivers were from City Transport Corporation (group B). These drivers were involved in routine commercial driving tasks. All the drivers had almost the same education level and belonged to the same age group.

2.2 Testing Procedure

CRRI, India, has administered different psychomotor tests by Act and React Test System installed in CRRI by the Institute of Traffic Psychology, Austrian Road Safety Board, and Wien, Austria. Each driver of the two groups of the selected sample was tested and evaluated separately for the following:

  • Tests for measuring decision and reactive behavior in a dynamic driving environment
  • Test for measuring Reactive Stress Tolerance
  • Test of attention under monotonous circumstances

2.2.1 Tests for measuring decision and reactive behavior in a dynamic driving environment and comparative analysis of the two groups

In Experimental Psychology, the examination of reaction time has been one of the central interests of research. The time between the appearance of a stimulus and the actualizing of a specific reaction movement is called reaction time [5]. This test covers two performance dimensions: a) decision time and b) motor time. This test belongs to simple choice reaction test, i.e. the subject has to react to one specific stimulus configuration.

Two experimental groups were administrated this test and the following results have been obtained through analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the two groups [Table 1] and [Table 2] and [Figure 1], [Figure 2] and [Figure 3]. A significant difference at 0.1 level was found between the mean values of decision and reaction time of Group B, Group A. Group A drivers significantly performed better drivers. S.P.G. drivers significantly performed better by giving correct decision and reaction toward stimuli in lesser time.
Figure 1: Mean values of decision and reaction time (in secs.)

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Figure 2: Comparative analysis of average decision time of the two groups of drivers

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Figure 3: Comparative analysis of average reaction time of the two groups of drivers

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Table 1: Summary: Analysis of variance for decision time of the two groups

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Table 2: Summary: Analysis of variance for reaction time of the two groups

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The ANOVA results shown in [Table 1] and [Table 2] depict significant difference up to 0.01 level between the groups and within means, i.e. drivers of group A significantly performed better with regard to taking appropriate action at the right time as compared to the performance of bus drivers. It is also clear from the comparative analysis of average decision time and average reaction time of the two groups [Figure 2] and [Figure 3] that decision time and reaction time of drivers of group B were quite high in comparison with the group A drivers.

2.2.2 Tests for measuring reactive stress tolerance and comparative analysis of the two groups

Today, increasing traffic density throughout the world has led to increasing numbers of conflicts between road users, often resulting in rash and negligent driving. In such situation, a driver is confronted with a multitude of stimuli to which he has to react within quite a specific period of time by an adequate reaction motion. Therefore, it is necessary that a driver should have certain amount of reserve capacities in order to react to the relevant stimuli correctly and in time even under conditions of increased stress. A person's ability to cope with multiple stimuli with appropriate action in time is defined as Reactive Stress Tolerance. Tolerance capacity of a driver can be judged by his number of correct attempts or by the simple/multiple errors committed by him.

Mean numbers of correct reactions during three different phases of stress conditions of the two groups were analyzed [Figure 4] and [Table 3].
Figure 4: Comparative analysis of the mean values of two groups of drivers

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Table 3: Analysis of variance for test for tolerance during stress situation between the two groups

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2.2.3 Test of attention under monotonous driving environment (Q1 test) and comparative analysis of the two groups

The capacity of concentration has the function to select from among the multitude of information flooding the human mind, a certain part of which is transmitted to the relevant central nervous system processing centers. Concentration plays an important part in perceiving and selecting information. A majority of attention tests such as MIELI Concentration Test without model [6] or the concentration stress test by Bricken Kamp [7] measure the visual orientation with respect to uncomplicated stimulus material. This means that patterns of a simple structure are presented to the subject for prolonged period of time, the task being to specify distinctions in detail. What is recorded is performance in quantity and quality as well as performance evaluation. Present study highlights that S.P.G. drivers who were properly tested and trained showed very good attention and they were found superior in the number of right attempts as compared to improperly trained D.T.C. drivers with accident records [Table 4].
Table 4: Mean values of concentration test scores of group A and group B drivers

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ANOVA showed significant difference up to 0.01 level between the groups and within means. Thus, the results highlight that drivers who were involved in high responsibility driving tasks and who were highly trained significantly performed better in concentration test as compared to the commercial drivers involved in normal driving task. These results highlight that a good training and testing program can significantly modify the driver's performance. This training is more effective during the learning stage of the drivers, which provides better controls and maneuvering techniques accompanied by their attitudinal changes from the starting point.

   3. Recommendations Top

Today, in India, an adaptive and defensive driving attitude among the drivers is needed to be developed through an effective and uniform driver testing and training program. For developing such a driver testing and training program, the following steps are needed.

  • Improvement in driver testing and training field necessitates new concepts and testing procedures, including a high and uniform level of training for driving instructors. To develop such kind of training, active learning methods are needed to evaluate the driver behavior during driving maneuvering as a multilevel task.
  • In such training program, driver's self-evaluation should also be given importance.
  • A method should be introduced to monitor uniformly the test results of the learner drivers i.e. visual and sensory-motor tests, road sign awareness tests etc. and their records should be kept in a secured NATIONAL DATA BANK so it can be accessible for all RTOs from anywhere throughout the India with the help of proper security codes. Also during the driving license renewal period these drivers should be retested along with their accident records, if any.
  • There should be continuous evaluation of testing and training systems in the context of societal development .
  • A complete database for each driver should be developed in each state in India. This system should be interactive among the states so that the total number of the applicants for driving license and the passed candidates with their demographic characteristics may be seen state wise as well as in the whole country. This record should be stored in the authority offices. If any particular driver is reappearing for the license renewal or applying for the same, then these data could be retrieved and used by the RTO. The traffic controller should coordinate with the licensing authority and they should provide the driver's particulars and records of offenses, e.g. number of challans, etc. to the authority.
  • It is urgently needed to establish Driver Training and Testing Group which will monitor the licensing process and upgrade this system from time to time.
  • The traffic police personnel in duty will punch this green circle if the driver is creating conflicts on the road and disturbing traffic without any apparent genuine cause, e.g. fighting in the middle of the road, parking vehicle in a position which is partially blocking the road structure, using mobile while driving, etc. For such things, driver's license will be withheld for 2 days in the police custody. The yellow circle will be punched if the driver drives under the influence of alcohol and drugs or at a high speed over the limits. In such situations, the license will be withheld for 5 or more days. The red circle will be punched if the driver is found guilty of committing accident. Then, his license will be cancelled and he has to reappear for licensing if permitted by the authority.
  • Finally, it is recommended that an effective road safety education program should be initiated mainly because the lack of awareness of traffic rules and road signs among drivers is the major contributory cause of road accidents. The chances of getting involved in accidents could be avoided if the drivers are alert, careful, cautious and aware of the traffic rules and road signs [8].

   4. Conclusion Top

It can be concluded from the present study that effective training of the drivers, related to the increasing tolerance for road side stimuli and other road environment related aspects, helps in creating positive attitude and safe responses among the drivers, e.g. for reacting safely toward the road side stimuli which in turn reduces the chances of aggressive driving and increases road safety.

   Acknowledgments Top

The authors are grateful to Dr. S. Gangopadhyay, Director (CRRI), Dr. S. M. Sarin (Former Director, Grade Scientist and Head, Environment and Road Traffic Safety Division) and Dr. Nishi Mittal (Head, Traffic Engineering and Safety Division) for their continuous encouragement and help in publishing the paper.

   References Top

1.J. Michon, editor, "Generic Intelligent Driver Support", London: Taylor & Francis; 1993.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Summala, "Heirarchical model of Behavioural Adaptation and Traffic Accidents", In: Rothengatter T, Carbonell E, editors, Traffic & Transport Psychology, Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1997.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.S. M. Sarin, B. L. Suri, Sarfuddin, R. K. Bajpai, H. R. Luthera, and H. Singh, "Study of Road Accidents Bagodara to Bamanbore Junction Stretch of NH-8A", CRRI, New Delhi, 1987.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.A. Verma, S. Velumurugan, N. Chakrabarty, and S. Srinivas, "Recommendations for driver licensing and traffic law enforcement in India aiming to improve road safety", Journal of Current Science, Current Science, Vol. 100, no. 9, 10 May 2011.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.H. Munsterberg, "Psychologie and Wirtschaftsleben", Leipzig: J. A. Barth; 1912.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.R. Meili, "Durchstreichtest 'Ohne Modell'", Bern/Stuttgart: Huber; 1955.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.R. Briken Kamp, "Aufmersamkeits-Belastungs-Testd2", Handanweisung, Gottigen: Hogrefe; 1952.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.N. Chakrabarty, "Effect of Age, Driving Exposure and Glare Periods on Visual Recovery of Road Users", National Conference on Transportation System (NCTS), IIT, New-Delhi, 2002.  Back to cited text no. 8

   Authors Top

Neelima Chakrabarty Principal Scientist, TES Division, CRRI, New Delhi-110025, India

Anuradha Shukla Scientist 'F', Transportation Planning and Environment Division, CRRI, Mathura Road, India

Shri Harcharan Singh Nagar Retired Technical Officer E-I, Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, CRRI, Mathura Road, India

Nancy Shokeen Reasearch Worker (Ad-Hoc), Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, CRRI, Mathura Road, India


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]

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