Road traffic accidents and self-reported Portuguese car driver's attitudes, behaviours and opinions : are they related?

Bon de Sousa, Teresa and Santos, Carolina and Caixeiro Mateus, Maria Do Ceu and Areal, Alain and Trigoso, José and Nunes, Carla (2016) Road traffic accidents and self-reported Portuguese car driver's attitudes, behaviours and opinions : are they related? Traffic Injury Prevention, 17 (7). pp. 705-711. ISSN 1538-9588

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Objective: This study aims to characterize Portuguese car drivers in terms of demographic characteristics, driving experience, and attitudes, opinions and behaviours concerning road traffic safety. Furthermore, associations between these characteristics and self-reported involvement in a road traffic accident as a driver in the last three years were analysed. A final goal was to develop a final predictive model of the risk of suffering a road traffic accident. Methods: A cross-sectional analytic study was developed, based on a convenience sample of 612 car drivers. A questionnaire was applied by trained interviewers, embracing various topics related to road safety such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, phone use while driving, speeding, use of advanced driver assistance systems and the transport infrastructure and environment (European Project SARTRE 4, Portuguese version). From the 52 initial questions, 19 variables were selected through principal component analysis. After that, and in addition to the usual descriptive measures, logistic binary regression models were used in order to describe associations and to develop a predictive model of being involved in a road traffic accident. Results: From the 612 car drivers, 37.3% (228) reported being involved in a road traffic accident with damage or injury in the past three years. In this group, the majority were male, older than 65, with no children, not employed and living in an urban area. In the multivariate model, several factors were identified: being widowed (vs. single) (OR = 3.478, CI95%: 1.159‒10.434); living in a suburban area (vs. a rural area) (OR = 5.023, CI95%: 2.260‒11.166); having been checked for alcohol once in the last three years (vs. not checked) (OR = 3.124, CI95%: 2.040‒4,783); and seldom drinking an energetic beverage such as coffee when tired (vs. always do it) (OR = 6.822, CI95%: 2.619‒17.769) all suffered a higher risk of being involved in a car accident. Conclusions: The results obtained with regard to behavioural factors meet the majority of the risk factors associated with car accidents referred to in literature. This study highlights the relation of relatively minor accidents (the majority with no injuries) with urban (or semi-urban) context and involving older drivers. These accidents are not usually the focus of road safety literature (mainly death and serious health loss) but, additionally to the economic costs involved, they can have a huge impact on road safety (e.g., pedestrian). Specifically the following interventions can be proposed: more detailed clinical examinations to identify real competencies to drive especially in older drivers (active aging can constitute a new challenge in road safety and new paradigms can arise); education campaigns in how to cope with fatigue. Future studies in large samples and not based on self-reported behaviours should be developed.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Traffic Injury Prevention
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Traffic Injury Prevention on 18/02/2016, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? road traffic accidentbehaviour, attitudes and opinionscar driverspublic health, environmental and occupational healthsafety research ??
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Deposited On:
25 Feb 2016 11:24
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 15:50