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Mobile phone use while driving: A major public health problem in an arabian society, state of Qatar-mobile phone use and the risk of motor vehicle crashes

2010-04-01
BENER, Abdulbari
CRUNDALL, David
Özkan, Türker
Lajunen, Timo
Aim The aim of the present study was to assess the rate of mobile phone use among drivers who were involved in road traffic crashes and to determine the factors associated with mobile phone use in Qatar. Methods Structured interviews were conducted and participants were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning socio-demographics, driving attitudes and behaviour, adherence to traffic laws and mobile phone use. The study was conducted from December 2004 to June 2005 during which 1,139 drivers were asked to participate in the study and 822 drivers expressed their consent and met the inclusion criteria with a response rate of 72%. Results There was a high rate of mobile phone use among individuals associated with crashes (73.2%). Of 602 drivers, 497 (82.6%) used handheld mobile phones without any extra add-on equipment. A stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that the vehicle type (four-wheel drive vs small car), excessive speeding, educational level and running a red light were statistically significant factors associated with mobile phone use among drivers who were involved in road traffic crashes. Conclusion Use of mobile phones while driving in Qatar is very high and poses a high risk for violations and motor vehicle crashes. These conclusions are discussed with reference to current interventions and safety regulations that are being launched.