Background Road traffic incidents (RTIs) are on the rise in Pakistan with a disproportionately higher number of accidents involving commercial vehicles.
Objectives To estimate the prevalence of driver related causes potentially contributing to the occurrence of RTIs involving commercial vehicles in Pakistan, including driving behaviours, fatigue, sleep inadequacy, substance abuse and other risky practices while driving.
Methods A cross sectional survey in Rawalpindi using Time Location Cluster Sampling was done and 857 commercial vehicle drivers were interviewed after obtaining informed consent. Questions on driving behaviours, sleep, fatigue, marijuana and alcohol use while driving, vehicle maintenance and other health related issues were asked. Information was also collected from the drivers about having had an accident in the last 5 years. Weighted statistical analysis was performed using SAS v9.2.
Results Factor analysis identified four driving behaviours, substance abuse, cautious/safe driving, aggression and confident driving. Alcohol was used by 9.9% of truckers and marijuana by 22.9% of drivers. Bad vehicle maintenance prevailed in 65.1% of vehicles, seatbelts were never used by 51.4%, 54.9% of the drivers reported being fatigued while working. Positive association was found with alcohol use (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.06 to 4.39)and bad vehicle maintenance (OR 3.44, 95% CI 1.68 to 7.05). Seat belt use was negatively associated with accident involvement (OR 2.73, 95% CI 1.32 to 5.64).
Conclusion There is a high prevalence of commercial drivers practicing unsafe driving habits on the roads of Pakistan which is potentially promoting RTIs. A multisectoral approach needs to be adapted for effective control of all the different factors.
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