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The History and Current Activity

of Czech Traffic Psychology

Presented as the Country Report

EFPA Standing Committee of Traffic Psychology
Vienna, 21th March, 2012
Introduction - Road Traffic Accidents
Every year in Europe, more than 50 000 people are killed in road
More than 150 000 remain disabled for life
The social-economic costs, according to a European study, amount to
200 billion ECU per year.
In the Czech republic there are approximately 1300 peoples killed in
road accidents
The social-economic costs – 1,9 billion ECU per year
The Ministry of Traffic of the Czech republic is also determined to halve
the number of road traffic fatalities by 2010 (The European Road
Safety Charter).

1976 – cca 3,3 million licensed drivers, 450 000

2010 – cca 6,6 milion holders of driving licence, 300
000 profesionals and more than 7 221 943 registered
To the end of 2011 – 673 508 drivers has affected by
demerit point system. The critical group – young men
(19-23) and new drivers (1-2 years driving practice)
24 212 drivers have lost their driving licence due to
12 points
The most frequent traffic offence is speeding
Accident rate and consequences since 2000
in Czech Republic
Year Number of Fatalities Seriously Slightly
accidents injured injured
2000 211 516 1 136 5 525 27 063
2001 185 664 1 219 5 943 28 297
2002 190 718 1 314 5 492 29 013
2003 195 851 1 319 5 253 30 312
2004 196 484 1 215 4 878 29 543
2005 199 262 1 127 4 396 27 974
2006 187 965 956 3 990 24 731
2007 182 736 1 123 3 960 25 382
2008 160 376 992 3 809 27 776
2009 74 815 832 3 536 23 777
2010 75 522 753 2 823 21 610
2011 75 137 707 3 092 22 519
The history of traffic psychology
Few things can be fully understood without some sense of
where they come from and how they have evolved
Traffic psychology in former Czechoslovakia used the
knowledge gained by:

English and American psychology activities during WW I. in the

selection of military personnel ( e.g. Spearman, Otis, Yerkes,
Terman, Thorndike, Kelley, et al.)

German psychotechnics (e.g. Münsterberger, Piorkovski, Giese,

Rupp, Moede, Poppelreuter)

The stress was primarily placed on the physical skills of driving

The History of Traffic Psychology I.

1920 – The Psychotechnical Institute in the Masaryk‘s Academy of

1922 – The beginning of the psychotechnical examination of drivers
1923 – The Psychotechnical laboratory of The Electrical Works of
1925 – The Psychotechnical Service in the Czechoslovak Army –
selection of airmen and drivers
1934 – The VII. International Psychotechnic Congress in Prague
1935 – The Psychotechnical Department of the Czechoslovak Army
with 10 Psychotechnical Stations for selection drivers and officers
1946 – The Institute of the Air Health Service
1949-50 – the criticism of the psychotechnics in CR
1951 – the end of The Czechoslovak Institute of the Work and end of
the psychotechnics in CR
The History of Traffic Psychology II.

1955 – The Department of Psychology of Work Safety within the Work

Safety Research Institute (analyzing of road accidents)
1956 – obligatory psychological testing of engine-drivers and train
1962 – the new battery of psychological tests for selection of military
1963 – The Institute of the Road and Urban Traffic
1964 – The Psychophysiological Selection Station in the Central
Military Hospital in Prague – later Central Medical Psychological
1975 – The development of the Traffic Psychological Institutes Net in
the 10 regions of CSSR, unified methodics for the selection of drivers
1978 – The new methodics for the investigation of the psychological
capability of drivers
1979- The Psychological Institute of the Water Transport
1980 – 15 Traffic Psychological Laboratories in the regions
1988 - 20 Traffic Psychological Laboratories in the regions
The new history of traffic
New conception of driver assessment has been
conducted in the Czech Republic since the middle of the
last century. After WW II. it was recognised that
industrial work and driving are both physical and
mental processes since personality variables, traits and
behavioural preconditions have an impact on driving

Tests are now centered on:

perceptual skills
attention and concentration
sensorimotor skills
intellectual capacity
qualitative criteria of personality
The new history of traffic psychology

Assessment of psychological fitting to drive

(obligatory for „professionals“, voluntary for
Not only the selection, but also the suitable
training and rehabilitation of drivers
Solutions and recommendations concerning
dangerous points (frequent accidents and
serious injuries - locations measured by GPS)
Authorized experts activities concerning of
accidents investigation
The new history of traffic

The Association of Traffic Psychologists (ADP)

5th June 1990 – The foundation of the Association of Traffic

Psychologist of Czechoslovak Republic (ADP)

The test battery for drivers skills assessment „Methodology 92-

02“ designed by the ADP members and the copyright granted to
the ADP
The number of members is about 90 (regular membership)
The specialised traffic psychologists, who work in the area of the
selection and evaluation of drivers and other traffic personnel are
The member of ADP must be psychology graduates with a
minimum of three years practice in the field of the traffic
psychology and post-graduate training in traffic psychology (200
hours of training)
ADP activities:

The Association of Traffic Psychologists


Educative activities for members (postgraduate study in

traffic psychology, every year seminar, papers, professional
Cooperation with:
Transport Research Centre
The Ministry of Transport
The Governmental Commission for Safety on the Road (BESIP)
The Traffic Academy of Czech Republic
ADP international activities:

EFPA Task Force Traffic Psychology or SCTP (permanent representant dr.

Kořán from 1999)

Participation on research projects (COST, SARTRE 3, DGTREN)

Particular contacts with traffic institutions (e.g. BASt, KfV, INRETS, TRL,
ADP activities:
ADP‘s participation on legislation processes

preparation of new legislation on human factor in road transport

and the psychological capability for driving motor vehicles

the enforcement of the so called “demerit point system”

the enforcement of the modern traffic safety elements

participation in the preparation of the amendment of traffic law,

especially concerning psychological examination of professional
drivers by accredited traffic psychologists
Positive and negative aspects of new
Road Traffic Act (No. 411/2005)

1st July 2006 came into force

Intention:: to improve the enforcement of safety rules
relating to speeding,
speeding, drunk driving,
driving, non-
non-use of seat
belts,, overtaking when prohibited,
belts prohibited, etc.
Obligatory psychological assessment of professional
drivers to be carried out by a „„psychologist
psychologist or clinical
psychologist““ without any requirement of
specialisation or accreditation
The traffic regulation enforcement can be
highly effective
Inadequacies still remains in the area of legal
procedure (possibilities for avoiding sanction),
Some violations are not sanctioned strictly
And other deserve increased attention
The sanction system is not linked to other
New amendment of Road
Traffic Act (No. 133/2011)
Only registered traffic psychologists can
assess the drivers (acredited by Ministry of
transport) – from the 1. August 2011.
Acrediting is a continuous auditing process on
the basis of an extensive list of requirements
(postgraduate training in traffic psychology, 3
years of practice in the field of traffic
psychology and specific equipment and test
Some Tasks for Traffic Clinical Psychology
1. The psychological examination of the persons with different neurological or
other health problems (e.g. cerebral palsy, brain tumours, states after
injury of backbone or spinal cord, persons with epilepsy, etc.).

2. The use of special neuropsychological programmes and the special

neuropsychological and traffic-psychological tests (e.g. ADP worked out the
methodological direction of the psychological competency for the safe use
of the electrical wheel chairs for the physically handicapped - IQ, short
memory, attention, sensory-motor coordination, and personality

3. The rehabilitation of the punished drivers who are unable to obey the rules
and traffic laws introduced for the sake of the safety. This psychotherapy
should be oriented not only to the traffic offenders, but also to the people
who have been involved in traffic accidents (the cooperation with the Czech
Association of Road Traffic Victims).
The outlook for the future 1:
The cooperation on the preparation of the proposals of new laws
concerning of the psychological problems of driving.
The Assessment and the Rehabilitation of drivers – cooperation with
EFPA Standing Committee Traffic Psychology.
The improvement of the psychological selection of drivers and other
traffic workers.
Participation in the implement of the safety regulations in the traffic.
Teaching new traffic psychologist – to organise of the postgraduate
study of the traffic psychology, to use experience from the European
Union (Europsy).
Participation in the subsequent monitoring of the “Demerit point
system” law. Preparation of the special rehabilitation programs or certain
types of psychotherapy designed to modify deviant behaviour of drivers
convicted and reconvicted of violations of the traffic code or regulations.
The outlook for the future 2:
Co-operation on the PASS (Psychological and Medical Assistance
for Safe Mobility) – an interdisciplinary model to promote and
secure mobility competence in Europe
Preparation for the future boom in older drivers which could
prove to be a serious problem in the next few years
Participation in the preparation of the amendment of traffic law,
especially concerning psychological examination of professional
drivers by accredited traffic psychologists
Psychological care of victims of traffic accidents
Thank for your attention

Martin Kořán, PhD.