Road traffic injuries are the largest cause of loss of disability-adjusted life years for men and women of all ages in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but data on driving habits there are lacking. To inform policymakers on drivers’ abilities and driving habits, we analyzed data from the Saudi Health Interview Survey 2013.
We surveyed a representative sample of 5,235 Saudi males aged 15 years or older on wearing seat belts, exceeding speed limits, and using a handheld cell phone while driving. Male and female respondents were surveyed on wearing seat belts as passengers.
Among Saudi males, 71.7% reported having had a driver's license, but more than 43% of unlicensed males drove a vehicle. Among drivers, 86.1% engaged in at least one risky behavior while driving. Older and unlicensed drivers were more likely to take risks while driving. This risk decreased among the more educated, current smokers, and those who are physically active.
Up to 94.9% and 98.5% of respondents reported not wearing a seat belt in the front and the back passenger seats, respectively.
The high burden of road traffic injuries in the Kingdom is not surprising given our findings. Our study calls for aggressive monitoring and enforcement of traffic laws. Awareness and proper education for drivers and their families should be developed jointly by the Ministries of Health, Interior Affairs, and Education and provided through their channels.
El Bcheraoui C, Basulaiman M, Tuffaha M, Daoud F, Robinson M, Jaber S, Mikhitarian S, Wilson S, Memish ZA, Al Saeedi M, AlMazroa MA, Mokdad AH. Get a license, buckle up, and slow down: Risky driving patterns among Saudis. Traffic Injury Prevention. 2014 Dec 31; 16(6):587-592.