Welcome to the World of Traffic Psychology - Dominican Republic

In this blog post, our guest author Rafael Andres Perez Sanchez takes you on a journey through the world of traffic psychology. Have you ever wondered where traffic psychology diagnostics even exist, and how they are done elsewhere? Take off with us today to the Dominican Republic. 

In the Dominican Republic every driving licence applicant has to undergo a Traffic Psychological Assessment. By 2023 a new demerit point system is going to be put in pace, so drivers who have lost their license due to traffic violations will need to undergo this assessment too, in order to recover points or to regain the driving licences after suspension.

Procedure of the assessment

The person has to fill up a basic health questionnaire to gather some general data. Afterwards the information given in the questionnaire is verified, a hearing test, a visual test as well as the psychological tests are conducted. These results are verified by the doctor and a psychologist. If everything is in order, the practical driving test is conducted. If during the examination anything strange is detected, the procedure gets paused, and the person has to go to a specialist of the corresponding area to do an extensive exam and come back with a report from that doctor with the approval and/or measures. Then the examination can be finished.

Methods used

For the psychological examinations the Vienna Test System is used. We use 2HAND to measure eye to hand and bimanual coordination, RT to measure reaction times  and DT (specifically for truck and bus licenses) to measure stress tolerance and some reflexes. For the demerit point system recovery assessment we are still in the decision making step, to find the best test solutions for this field of application.  We will likely use three different types of test batteries to cover the 3 groups of infractions: Aggressive driving, DUI driving (alcohol and other substances) and assuming unnecessary risks.

Possible results of the examination

There are 3 possible results:

  • Suitable, if everything goes well.
  • Suitable with restrictions, depending on some ranges established by the law, some results correlate with being able to drive but for example only during the day, or only in an XY km radius from your home.
  • Not suitable, in which case the person is deem not fit to drive and wouldn't get the license.

Where are the assessments conducted?

These examinations are exclusively done at the so called CEMECOS, which are the authorized centers for psyco-physical assessment of drivers. These centers are within the INTRANT offices (Instituto Nacional de Tránsito y Transporte Terrestre) of the country in which you can get or renew your driving license.

At the CEMECOS are mainly technicians that have undergone a training by the lead Doctor and Psychologist of the project. In each center there is at least one Doctor that has also undergone the same training, to fully understand the scope of the testing. We are in the process of hiring more psychologists, since in the Dominican Republic there is no specialization in Traffic Psychology till yet.



About the author

Rafael Andres Perez Sanchez, graduated in Psychology at the Catholic University of Santo Domingo and has specialized through his career in neuro-psychology. Now he is leading this project of implementing psychological assessment for driver licence applicants and traffic offenders. He is hoping to establish the foundations for the new speciality of Traffic Psychology.

Author Rafael Andres Perez Sanchez