Professional drivers - safety and risks in traffic Based on the Law on Road Traffic Safety (Article 203, paragraph 1), professional drivers are defined as drivers of motor vehicles, ie expensive vehicles, for whom driving is the main occupation and who perform public transport. In addition, it is defined for these drivers that they must have a license to perform the duties of professional drivers (Certificate of Professional Competence).
Professional drivers - safety and risks in traffic
Based on the Law on Road Traffic Safety (Article 203, paragraph 1), professional drivers are defined as drivers of motor vehicles, ie expensive vehicles, for whom driving is the main occupation and who perform public transport. In addition, it is defined for these drivers that they must have a license to perform the duties of professional drivers (Certificate of Professional Competence).
Professional drivers can drive all categories of vehicles in traffic, but still the largest percentage of them on our roads is represented in commercial vehicles. With this in mind, in the continuation of the text that refers to the presentation of the state of traffic safety of this special group of drivers, professional drivers who drive trucks and buses have been selected. In addition, it is important to note that the presented behavioral studies and conducted research on the behavior of professional drivers, included only drivers who drive these categories of vehicles.
According to the review of official statistical data, 69 professional drivers were killed in the Republic of Serbia in the last five years, and a total of 2,510 professional drivers were injured, which represents 2,579 professional drivers in the total number of casualties. In the total structure of fatalities in the mentioned period, professional drivers participated with 2.3% (ABS, 2017; ABS, 2016; ABS, 2015; ABS, 2014; ABS, 2013). In addition to the data related to the number of injured professional drivers, in the analysis of traffic accidents with commercial vehicles, it is necessary to state the consequences of other participants in the mentioned traffic accidents. Namely, drivers of commercial vehicles (meaning professional drivers) in traffic accidents due to the weight and dimensions of their vehicles often "suffer" minor consequences of a traffic accident compared to another participant in the accident. Thus, in order to get a true picture of the representation and consequences of traffic accidents involving professional drivers, it is necessary to state the following: the number of traffic accidents involving professional drivers in the mentioned period is 39,116 accidents, the total number of fatalities is 685, while the total number of injured persons in the above accidents is 10,747 persons.
When it comes to omissions and mistakes of professional drivers as contributors to the occurrence of a traffic accident, in 2016 in 4,954 traffic accidents as a contribution to the occurrence is stated incorrect performance of traffic actions by a professional driver, while in 3,952 traffic accidents as a contribution to the occurrence of a traffic accident undertaking reckless actions by a professional driver. The most represented age group in the structure of killed professional drivers is the group of 41-65 years with 41 dead drivers.
Although a small number of studies of the behavior of professional drivers have been conducted so far, results have been obtained that show certain specifics in their behavior. Professional drivers are 49% more likely to be involved in a car accident than drivers of private vehicles. In addition, Dimmer and Parker (1999) showed that 27% of professional drivers experience at least one car accident in a period of three years, while in the same period 18% of private vehicle drivers experience at least one car accident in the UK. Further, Chapman et al. (2000) found that the risk of participating in a traffic accident among professional drivers is 50% higher. However, this percentage is differently represented by different categories of professional drivers.
Although professional drivers are involved in a smaller percentage of the number of traffic accidents per million kilometers traveled than drivers of private vehicles, they are disproportionately involved in a large percentage of traffic accidents with fatalities. Professional drivers who drive trucks make up only 6% of the kilometers traveled annually, and are involved in 22% of traffic accidents with fatalities annually (Baas et al., 2000). Although they are not in many cases responsible for the occurrence of a traffic accident (Baas et al., 2000), they represented a group of traffic participants whose knowledge of behavior can have great potential in preventive action in traffic safety.
Professional drivers show less risky behaviors compared to other drivers (Maslać, 2018). By preferring to drive fast, committing ordinary and aggressive offenses and participating in traffic accidents, they are tied to young professional drivers. While mobility, ie annual mileage, is associated with aggressive offenses and the preference for fast driving by professional drivers.
The chances of professional drivers participating in traffic accidents increase with committing offenses and mistakes. A driver who constantly commits traffic offenses is 156% more likely to have an accident, while a driver who is prone to making mistakes is 170% more likely to experience an accident.
1.1. Maslać, M., Milutinović, N. Behaviors of traffic participants as contributors to traffic accidents. Conference with international participation on the topic: TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, Zlatibor, Serbia, 17-19. May, 2018. ISBN 978-86-86931-13-8.
2.Maslać, M. (2018). Development and improvement of methods for self-assessment of behavior of participants in traffic and transport. Doctoral dissertation. University of Belgrade, Faculty of Transportation, Belgrade.