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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Performance-Based Testing of Driving Skills/Capabilities


To determine the risks associated with older commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, and to evaluate if there is a need for performance-based testing of older drivers. Further, to provide recommendations for moving forward; if the recommendation is to implement a performance-based test, recommendations on how to test and how to implement will be included.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the study entitled “Performance-Based Testing of Driving Skills/Capability” in August, 2012. The study examined the need for performance–based testing of CMV drivers over a certain age. The idea behind the study came from industry representatives raising the issue that The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) precludes them from removing older drivers on the basis of safety concerns. If carried out, the performance-based test would be developed and administered at State Divisions of Motor Vehicles as part of the CMV license renewal process. The 2011 commercial driver crash statistics were analyzed and results revealed that commercial drivers aged 66 or older had elevated risks (6.64 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, and 4.25 times more likely to be involved in an injurious crash) than commercial drivers aged 46 to 55 years (the safest age group). A literature review was conducted and reduced to those peer-reviewed studies in which a performance-based measure was used to predict prospective crash risk. Very few relevant publications were identified, indicating a need for additional data collection. Meta-analyses of the existing studies were conducted and several performance-based measures were found to be associated with increased crash risk in older drivers.


This study involved four parts: (1) a literature review on the current research of the risks of older drivers and associated data; (2) an analysis of Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) data to retrieve crashes and Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) data to retrieve driver age; (3) a data collection and analysis of carrier crash records, driver age, critical reason assigned to the crash, and vehicle miles traveled; and (4) an assessment of the need for a performance-based test.


A report, including an analysis and recommendations.


October 2015: Project kick-off
December 2015: Literature review complete
May 2016: Begin data collection
June 2017: End data collection
September 2017: Final report due


FY 2015: $184,672

Current Status:


Project Manager:

For more information, contact Martin Walker of the Research Division at (202) 385-2387 or


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