The profession of drivers belongs to the category of difficult and dangerous jobs. In the research project carried out in CIOP-PIB, the age related changes in characteristics and performance determining safety behaviour of professional drivers in traffic situations were observed.
The sample was comprised of 501 active professional drivers, aged 20–67 years (M = 38.3, SD = 12.14), with a minimum of 2 years of work experience, who had never caused a road crash, nor caused any traffic collision in the past 2 years. The attributes examined included cognitive processes, psychomotor performance, visual function and personality.
The results showed that the level of performance systematically decreased with age and the results of the oldest drivers aged 55+ were significantly worse than those of the younger age groups. The figure presents the results of COGNITRON test evaluating cognitive performance in four age groups of professional drivers. The predominant percentage of the oldest drivers was the weakest of the five selected profiles of “psychomotor” fitness to driving, characterized by a low hand–eye coordination, poor reaction time and poor time anticipation and visual function. The drivers from the younger age group had the largest share in the best “psychomotor” profile with the best time anticipation, visual function, hand–eye coordination, high level of cognitive processes and reaction time. For personality traits, drivers 55+ were strongly represented in the best of the four selected “personality” profiles, with the lowest impulsivity and psychoticism, low neuroticism and venturesomeness. The youngest drivers had the largest share in the most risky elements for the traffic safety profile with the highest level of psychoticism as well as venturesomeness and the lowest empathy.
The profile of professional drivers aged 55+, including features and performance essential for safety behaviour of professional drivers in traffic situations, indicates reduced psychomotor and cognitive performance but greater maturity in terms of personality traits.
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