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Role of Monotonous Attention in Traffic Violations, Errors, and Accidents

Özkan, Türker
Recent traffic Law in Turkey requires that drivers whose driving licenses were withheld because of their serious traffic offences be subjected to “psychotechnical assessment” tests. These tests must include measures for psychomotor and mental abilities such as monotonous attention, peripheral perception, and reasoning. Currently, we are in process of developing a computer based psychotechnical driver test system. This study investigates the validity of the monotonous attention test that is one of the measures in our system. Participants were 79 volunteer drivers from Ankara, Turkey. First, drivers completed the Driver Behavior Questionnaire (DBQ) measuring violations and errors and demographic items regarding drivers’ history of offences and accidents. Second, participants were asked to respond the Traffic Monotonous Attention Test that is a cancellation task. Initial analysis revealed that the correlations between the scores of attention index and other major variables were not significant. Therefore, a tripartite split was performed on the participants’ attention scores. The results of ANOVAs revealed that those who had medium level of attention (incorrect responses) reported higher levels of driving errors than both high and low attention groups. The examination of the relationships between accident type and the continuous attention scores indicated that those having active accidents also had higher levels of both incorrect and omitted responses than no accident and passive accident groups. Findings of this study seem to imply that individual differences in the monotonous attention should be related with accident involvement and therefore, should be considered in devising a computer-based system including the measure of monotonous attention.