A STUDY ON THE KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS IN BENIN CITY TO ROAD SAFETY
INTRODUCTION: Road traffic crash is a major public health problem worldwide. An estimated 1.2 million people are killed and another 20- 50 million injured annually from road traffic crashes with 90% of them occurring in low and medium income countries of the world.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the knowledge and attitude of commercial vehicle drivers in Benin City to road safety and their pattern of alcohol use.
METHODOLOGY: A descriptive cross-sectional study was done using both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. A multistage sampling method was used to select 337 commercial vehicle drivers in Benin City who were interviewed using semi-structure questionnaires. Observational checklist was used to assess the presence of alcohol retail outlets in the Motor Parks. Key informant interviews were also conducted with representatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), and Save Accident Victims Association of Nigeria (SAVAN), an NGO to assess the road safety situation in the country. Breath alcohol measurements of the drivers were also done to get an objective assessment of their alcohol use.
RESULTS: All the drivers were males with a mean age of 40.4± 8.4 years. Only 7.7% of the drivers learnt driving in a driving school while 5.6% had attended a workshop on road safety. Majority (68%) of the drivers had done commercial driving for 1-10 years. Knowledge of road safety was poor (58.5%) and Good (36.2%) among the drivers. Knowledge was not significantly associated with Age of the drivers, their duration of driving or their educational status. Only 12.5% of the drivers were always aware of traffic signs when driving with 4.7% never aware of them. The hour respondents drive daily did not significantly affect their awareness of road signs. Attitude of the drivers towards road safety was generally good. Attitude of inter-city drivers [excellent (95.1%)] was significantly better than that for inter-city drivers [excellent (83.2%)]. Attitude was also influence by the age and educational status of the drivers. Though good attitude resulted in better practice, the level of practice still remained low with respect to use of seat belt [regular users (37%)], regular eye check up (only 11.9% have ever had their eyes checked), use of mobile phones (23.7% use phones while driving). Alcohol use rate was
80.7% among the drivers and 32.4% of the drivers had BAC of ≥0.08. Alcohol was on sale in 80% of the Motor parks with an average of 2.3 shops selling alcohol in the Motor Parks.
CONCLUSION: The study revealed that road safety remains poor in the country. Though the drivers had good attitude to road safety, this has not imparted heavily on their practice as their practice still remained low.
RECOMMENDATION: There is the need to have legislation on legal limit for BAC, develop a computerized database of vehicles in the country. The drivers should be educated on the understanding road signs and markings.