The effect of mobile phone use on driving style and driving skills


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRASHWORTHINESS, vol.11, no.5, pp.459-465, 2006 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The aim of this study is to give a picture of drivers' use of mobile phones while driving and its effect on self-reported driving style and skills, reflecting tactical (e.g., using the mobile phone appropriately by adjusting driving style) and strategic (e.g., decision to use mobile phone or not while driving) level processes. A representative sample of 1139 Qatari drivers who own or use a mobile phone and were involved with road traffic accidents were asked to participate in the study, of which 822 drivers expressed their consent to participate and met the inclusion criteria with a response rate of 72%. The study included Qatari male (N = 590) and female (N = 232) drivers (aged range 18-65 years) who had been involved in motor vehicle collisions. A multistage stratified cluster sampling was applied. Participants completed a standardized questionnaire including socio-demographic information, detailed crash history, Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) and Driver Skill Inventory (DSI). Of 822 drivers included for the study, only 602 (73.2%) drivers used a mobile phone while driving. Of 602 drivers, 497 (82.6%) used hand-held mobile phones without any extra add-on equipment. On the other hand, a third of the respondents favoured a law against use of mobile phones while driving regardless of the type of mobile phone equipment used. The average number of drivers' incoming or outgoing calls while driving was relatively high (4.28 per day). Young drivers used a mobile phone while driving more often than drivers of other age groups. The driving skills did not influence the decision to use (or not use) mobile phone while driving at the strategic level. Mobile phone usage was rather associated with driving style by tactical level decisions.