• Conference Proceeding

Correlational Data that Support a Constructive Assessment of Driving Skills


Mills, K. C., & Hubal, R. C. (2001). Correlational Data that Support a Constructive Assessment of Driving Skills. In Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training Systems and Education Conference,.


We describe how a constructive PC-based driver assessment part-task trainer (PTT) can be integrated into driver training. The PTT, developed through research with law enforcement agencies, gathers data on drivers' scanning and divided-attention skills and also measures the tendency toward tunnel vision under stress. The user sits in front of a computer monitor and interacts with the system through a force-feedback steering wheel and foot pedals. A validation study tested 50 North Carolina State Highway Patrol cadets before they were evaluated on a closed circuit driving course. A composite score was derived that reflected the cadets' scanning and divided-attention skills at five levels of increasing difficulty. The track testing evaluated behavioral skills as the cadet completed a 1.5-mile circuit with 11 obstacles; the skills were decision-making (evasive actions with obstructed visual fields), accuracy of maneuvers (number of cones hit), and lap times on three consecutive laps. Consistent with previous research, the PTT scores showed a linear degradation of skills over the five difficulty levels. Cadets with higher computer scores showed fewer driving errors on the track, especially on lap 2. The evasive action exercises were the most sensitive to individual differences. A replication with 50 additional cadets found a relationship between PTT scores and track instructor ratings of driving skills. The results show that a complex and unfamiliar computerized training assessment correlates with real-world driving skills, particularly when the driver is under pressure. A survey of trainers employing the PTT suggests improvements in how the system should be integrated into driver training. Results from an evaluation of its effectiveness as an assessment tool point to methodologies for focusing costly on-track (live) training by using relatively low-cost video reality (constructive) assessment data. Implications for developing computerized and track assessments of driving skills are discussed.