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April 2014, Volume 64, Issue 4

Letter to the Editor

Road rage and road side accidents involvement in commercial vehicle drivers of Karachi

Masood Ali Shaikh  ( Independent Consultants, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Omar Nisar Qureshi  ( Independent Consultants, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, Pakistan. )

Madam, rage expressed on the road by occupants of one vehicle directed at the occupants of another in terms of verbal abuse, threats, and acts of physical harm constitute road rage.1 It jeopardizes road safety and increases the burden of morbidity and mortality.1,2 Although several studies in different cities of Pakistan have reported verbal abuse and rude gestures as common type of road rage encountered by commercial vehicle drivers.1-5 There are no studies published on road rage in Karachi. A cross-sectional survey with convenience sampling was conducted from May-August 2012 among bus, and rickshaw drivers in Karachi to study their behaviours/experiences regarding road rage and involvement in road traffic accidents. Injuries resulting from road traffic accidents were also inquired about. Injury defined as one requiring either self-treatment or visit to a physician and requiring treatment. An interviewer-administered, pre-tested, structured questionnaire with both open and close-ended questions was used. Only those commercial vehicle drivers who had been driving for at least one year were interviewed by a trained interviewer, after obtaining verbal consent. Results were analyzed using open source statistical analysis software package R version 2.14. Chi-squared and Fisher's Exact tests were used as test of statistical significance.
Cumulatively, 187 drivers were interviewed; 91 bus and 96 rickshaw drivers. The mean age of drivers was 31.3±6.9 years. Most respondents had 5 or less years of schooling or no formal education i.e. 80 (42.8%), and had been driving commercially for a mean of 3.6±2.6 years.

Table lists the road rage behaviours, experiences and involvement in accidents disaggregated by type of commercial vehicle driven. Statistically significant associations were found between road rage experiences/behaviours and the type of commercial vehicle driven. More bus drivers reported experiencing verbal road rage in the past 24 hours compared to rickshaw drivers, while this pattern was reversed when inquired about experiencing this behaviour in the past 30-days. Eight accidents were reported by bus drivers in the past 12-months, with an equal number involving commercial and private vehicles. Two accidents resulted in the driver being injured himself; while in one someone other than the driver got injured. Interestingly none of the accidents were reported to the traffic-police.
The results of this study are comparable to the other studies conducted on road rage in other cities of Pakistan.1-5 However, there is a need for developing a better and more representative profile of road safety in Karachi, by conducting larger studies involving other types of commercial vehicles like taxis.

References

1. Shaikh MA, Shaikh IA, Siddiqui Z. Road rage and road traffic accidents among commercial vehicle drivers in Lahore, Pakistan. East Mediterr Health J 2012; 18: 402-5.
2. Shaikh MA, Shaikh IA, Siddiqui Z. Road rage behavior and experiences of rickshaw drivers in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. East Mediterr Health J. 2011; 17: 719-21.
3. Shaikh IA, Shaikh MA, Kamal A, Masood S. Road rage behavior: experiences of university students. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak 2005; 15: 830-1.
4. Shaikh MA, Siddiqui Z. Road rage and road side accidents involvement in commercial vehicle drivers of Faisalabad. J Pak Med Assoc 2012; 62: 1107-8.
5. Shaikh MA, Siddiqui Z. Road rage behavior and experiences of taxi drivers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan. J Pak Med Assoc 2011;61: 96-7.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: