Cost Reduction of Worker Compensation Claims Resulting from Driver License Road Test Related Injuries

Driver license examiners play a crucial role in accident prevention – by serving as the first line of defense against unsafe drivers and driving practices. More specifically, these examiners ensure that driving licenses are only issued to individuals that can demonstrate basic competency in safely operating motor vehicles. While the examiners are fundamental to preserving the safety on our highways, they are themselves exposed to high levels of safety risk as they test new drivers – with limited proficiency and experience in driving. In fact, estimates suggest that hundreds of accidents and injuries – and many more near-misses – are reported every year during driving tests in the United States. Such incidents often result in injuries, property damages, personal distress, and worker compensation claims that exceed hundreds and thousands of dollars every year. Although a few predictors of such incidents are available through anecdotal evidence from examiners (e.g., inadequate driving education and language proficiency among foreign nationals), a thorough investigation has not been performed to identify the causes, consequences, and the frequency of such safety incidents. The objective of the proposed research is to conduct the first study seeking to reduce incident rates and worker compensation claims reported from driver license tests. The study will involve a thorough content analysis of textual data in the form of incident reports and workers compensation claims – that largely remain unleveraged for research purposes. More specifically, the analysis of the textual data will deepen understanding of (1) causal factors and precursors of safety incidents – including accidents, crashes, and injuries during driving tests, (2) the consequence and outcomes of these safety incidents and (3) patterns and relationships among incident causal factors, precursors and their outcomes. Apart from examining the available textual data, additional causal factors, outcomes, and lessons will be gathered through interviews and field investigations with driving examiners. This is important because, for every reported safety incident – there are hundreds of unreported near misses and thousands of unsafe experiences – that fortunately did not translate into accidents, crashes, or injuries. Leveraging this otherwise unreported data is fundamental to gaining a thorough understanding of incident causal factors and their outcomes. After the preliminary analysis, efforts will be undertaken to evaluate the predictive value of particular incident causal factors. Based on the results, potential safety solutions and strategies will be identified through brainstorming sessions with the examiners and other transportation officials. It is expected that the proposed study will provide important solutions to reducing accidents, crashes, injuries, and workers compensation claims from driving tests. The results of the study can be strategically used by NCDOT and other transportation agencies to protect the safety of their license examiners, their workforce, and prospective drivers.