In Iran the prevalence of traffic injuries and death from vehicle collisions are high. Driver engagement in non-driving-related tasks has been previously identified as an important contributing factor to crashes. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of drivers’ engagement in potentially distracting activities in Kashmar, Khalilabad and Bardaskan, which are three Iranian International Safe Communities. Observations took place at 12 randomly selected roadside locations in each city, which were comprised of six main streets and six side streets. In total 7979 drivers were observed. The prevalence rates of potentially distracting activities in Kashmar, Khalilabad and Bardaskan were 24.3%, 26% and 24.9%, respectively. In both Kashmar and Khalilabad the most frequently observed secondary tasks were drivers talking to passengers (10.6% and 11.5%, respectively) followed by mobile phone use (3.4% and 4.0%, respectively). Although in Bardaskan the most commonly observed secondary task was also talking to passengers (12.7%), the second most common was reaching for an object (3.2%). In all three cities younger drivers were significantly more likely to be observed engaged in a secondary task while driving. Furthermore, involvement in secondary tasks while driving was significantly higher amongst females and those driving on a working day. The percentage of drivers identified as potentially distracted in these three Safe Communities was worryingly high. Thus, interventions should be integrated into the WHO Safe Community network in these cities, including: education regarding the risks associated with engaging in secondary activities while driving, law enforcement, tougher legislation, periodic assessment, raising public awareness, as well as attracting political and social support.
- Mobile phone
- Observational study
- Potentially distracting activity
- Safe Communities
- Secondary tasks