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Heavy trucks were responsible for at least 39.1% of the road traffic crashes that happened in Egypt in 2007. Human factor plays an important role in traffic accidents and truck drivers suffer from a variety of health problems including obesity, lower back pain, sleep disorders and substance abuse. However, there is paucity in researches exploring this demanding area among Egyptian truck drivers.
The aim of the current study was to measure the frequency of psychiatric disorders among a group of Egyptian truck drivers and to determine the association between these psychiatric disorders and the drivers’ driving behavior.
Hundred thirty-five drivers were recruited during their rest at rest places on Cairo – Suez highway between August and October 2018.
Data was collected through an interview questionnaire including personal history and occupational history. They were also interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Axis-I disorders (SCID-I) to diagnose axis I psychiatric disorders, BIS 11 (Barratt’s impulsivity Scale) to assess impulsivity,
Occupational Driver Behavior Questionnaire to measure work-related driving behavior and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was added to assess their sleep quality.
Results of this study showed that 15.6% of drivers had psychiatric disorders (Depression (5.2%), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (5.9%), Anxiety (2.2%), Dysthymia (0.7%), OCD 0.7% and Hypomania (0.7)). In addition, 31.9% reported substance abuse which was associated with smoking, tiredness, impulsivity and poor sleep quality.
Twelve (8.9%) drivers reported having accidents during the past year which was associated with age, driving hours per day, mean distance travelled, speeding, speeding, role violations and substance abuse. After applying logistic regression analysis only age OR=0.89 (95% CI: 0.8 - 0.98) and substance abuse OR= 4.56 (95% CI: 1.02 - 20.34) were significant.
So we recommend screening of truck drivers for substance abuse and sleep problems, as these problems affect the likelihood of accidents, providing suitable resting places for drivers where they can rest during their long-distance trips.
We also encourage the development of health education programs targeted for truck drivers that focus on the effects of substance abuse and poor sleeping and designing special programs for this population to help them in quitting substance abuse that takes in consideration their work conditions. Further studies are needed to explore the interaction between work conditions and psychological problems including substance abuse.