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Nov 24, 2020

This week, the topic is measuring a driver’s skill level.

Starting in the mid-'70s, the Scotti School and now VDI clients wanted, actually demanded, that we supply them with an objective measurement of their employee's driving skill, to produce a professional security driver who has been scientifically measured to an objective and documented standard. 

To meet that demand, we studied the research conducted by the Society of Automotive EngineersISO  - International Organization for Standards, and NHTSA. Back in the 1970s, conducting research was not as easy as it is now. There was no Internet and Google. 

Their research created an understanding of how drivers make decisions in emergencies and how long it takes them to make those decisions. We found that these organizations created minimum standards, based on the laws of physics, for measuring driving skill and, therefore, survivability in an emergency scenario. Also, we decided that to perform the duties of a professional security driver; the minimum standards were not sufficient.

From studying their research, we found white papers and studies that indicated that the average driver, when confronted with an emergency, can only use 40% of the vehicle's capability before they relinquish control of the vehicle (give up). 

Starting in 1976, the Scotti School spent a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to develop training programs (Executive Protection and Security Driving) that implemented the standards created by these institutions. Please keep in mind that this was before computers. 

Our on-track testing showed that at the 40% mark, the vehicle becomes non-linear, which in turn creates driver anxiety (fear). We also found that once the driver was at the 40% usage of the vehicle, much more vehicle capacity was available for the driver to use. After a considerable amount of testing and evaluating, we decided that a good driver should be able to use a minimum of 80% of the vehicle's capability, in the three modes of vehicle operation, in a measured minimum amount of time and space, to be considered for employment as the CEO's driver—hence the 80% standard. 

The 80% standard has withstood the test of time. Forty-five years ago, the goal was to create a standard and training system accepted by the K&R and Corporate community, and that was accomplished. Anyone who attended an old Scotti School or a Vehicle Dynamics Institute program knows that reaching the 80% standard is demanding. 

How much of the vehicle do you use when driving the principal? 

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