Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

First Advisor

Terry L. Kline

Second Advisor

Sarah Morris

Third Advisor

James L. Pharr

Abstract

This research attempts to measure the effectiveness of mandatory driver training programs for fire service drivers. Effectiveness is defined by a decrease in the number of crashes per number of runs. Two states were identified for comparison, one with mandatory driver training requirements, Washington State (WA) and the other with no requirements, Pennsylvania (PA). Data was collected from state Department of Transportation (DOT) databases and state National Fire Incident Reporting Systems (NFIRS). A cross-sectional study was conducted to compare raw and adjusted crash rates calculated from state DOT crash numbers and NFPA run numbers. The WA effectiveness rate was then compared to the PA effectiveness rate.

There was a significant difference in the raw crash rate (per 100,000 runs) between Pennsylvania (PA) and Washington (WA) for 2003-2012 (t=3.48, p=.01); the raw mean number of crashes per 100,000 runs for PA was 188 (SD=162) while the raw mean number of crashes per 100,000 runs for WA was 10 (SD=2). There was also a significant difference in the adjusted crash rate (per 100,000 runs) between PA and WA for 2003-2012 (t=3.48, p=.01); the adjusted mean number of crashes per 100,000 runs for PA was 65 (SD=35) while the adjusted mean number of crashes per 100,000 runs for WA was 7 (SD=1).

These results indicate that mandatory training as implemented through the Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention (EVAP) program in Washington State was effective at reducing the number of crashes that fire apparatus were involved in over the study period. However, data analysis indicates that the program did not have a long-term impact beyond one or two years following its implementation or re-accreditation. Further, there is consistency of record high crash rates as time elapses following re-accreditation. If this trend continues, then the 2013 re-accreditation will have had a positive impact on the reduction of crash rates in 2013 and possibly into 2014, however a hypothesis can be made that there will be an increase in crash rates beginning in 2015 and beyond until the next re-accreditation occurs. Further studies are necessary to determine a more permanent method of reducing the number of crashes over a longer period of time. Focus should be given to program content that results in consistent and positive driver habits and choices.

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