Emergency response driver training: Dual-task decrements of dispatch communication

The present study examined the performance of law enforcement students during simulated emergency vehicle driver training in order to evaluate to potential of the training program to reduce the negative effects of dual-task driving and to identify aspects of driving performance that are impaired in dual-task conditions among first responders. It has been repeatedly shown that combining driving and cell-phone use significantly impairs driving performance. Although civilians may choose not to communicate while driving, this is not possible for emergency response drivers, especially when responding to a life or death call. This is particularly true for police officers who must be in constant communication with their dispatch operators, as their calls often involve suspect movements or escalated violence. One hundred and fifty six Canadian law enforcement students completed a series of simulated emergency response driving scenarios as part of their regular training. Students’ drives were scored in accordance to the organization’s standards and scores were analyzed to identify areas of impairment that occurred during dual-task requirements. These results indicate that the training alleviated the negative effects of concurrent communication, but speed and lane position maintenance were negatively impacted during the most complex dual-task conditions. Identifying ways to improve driving performance under such conditions is imperative and these results suggest that emphasis on speed and lane position maintenance while communicating within various contexts may be useful to increase the safety of first responders. These results contribute to developing evidence-based training and procedures for first response drivers.


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  • Accession Number: 01682885
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 28 2018 3:05PM