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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 34-38

They do not just drive when they are driving: Distracted driving practices among professional vehicle drivers in South India

1 Department of Statistics, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Velammal Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Kathiresan Jeyashree
Department of Community Medicine, Velammal Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJCFM.IJCFM_29_19

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Background: Driving is a complex task, requiring coordination between multiple mental and physical faculties. Distractions lead to delayed recognition of information needed to drive safely. It is essential to understand distracted driving practices to regulate them and reduce crash risk. This study aims to identify common distractors among professional vehicle drivers in South India. Methodology: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted on professional drivers of three-and four-wheeled vehicles. Epicollect 5, a mobile-based data collection tool, was used for data collection and entry. Results: Among 82 male professional drivers (57.3% car, 35.4% bus/lorry), with a mean (standard deviation) age of 38.4 (10.6) years, all reported being distracted by at least one of the listed distractors. Mobile phone usage and cognitive distractions were reported by 75.6% and 79.3%, respectively. Younger drivers (P = 0.005) and those with less than a decade of driving experience (P = 0.038) were more likely to use mobiles while driving. Drivers reporting cognitive distractions were more likely to have met with an accident than those who did not (44.6% vs. 23.5%). Conclusions: Distracted driving is common among professional drivers. Cognitive distractions are as common as distractions due to mobile phones. Sensitization of drivers and strict enforcement of legislation are recommended.

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