Hans and Sybil Eysenck
18th Annual Scholarship (April 2017)
made to Dr. Igor Radun from Finland
on the subject of Endangering yourself to save another: A professional truck driver's dilemma
Report Abstract (168 words):
Unlike hypothetical trolley problem studies and an ongoing ethical dilemma with autonomous vehicles, road users can face similar ethical dilemmas in real life. Swerving a heavy vehicle towards the road-side in order to avoid a head-on crash with a much lighter passenger car is often the only option available which could save lives. However, running off-road increases the probability of a roll-over and endangers the life of the heavy vehicle driver. We have created an experimental survey study in which heavy vehicle drivers randomly received one of two possible scenarios. We found that responders were more likely to report they would ditch their vehicle in order to save the hypothetical driver who fell asleep than to save the driver who deliberately diverted their car towards the participant’s heavy vehicle. Additionally, the higher the empathy score, the higher the probability of ditching a vehicle. Implications for autonomous vehicle programming are discussed.
The manuscript currently under review in a peer-reviewed journal. A preprint version is available online in PsyArXiv https://psyarxiv.com/rjndy/