Psychosocial Factors Influencing Commercial Drivers’ Recklessness

Project and Seminar Material for Psychology

Psychosocial Factors Influencing Commercial Drivers’ Recklessness


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Driving a car, bus, lorry or an articulated-vehicle is a psychomotor activity that requires a combination of concentration and good visual and auditory functions. Several forces that can negatively affect driving mostly fall within the purview of psycho-social factors (Kagashe and Seleman, 2009). Some of these psychosocial factors are the use of alcohol and drug. Others include driver’s personality, the environment, where they grew up, family trauma among others.

Ability to drive successfully from one point to another is an important component of road safety. However, in most part of the world especially in developing countries, few though significant number of drivers do not get to their destinations successfully. This occurs as a result of drivers’ recklessness along the way. Most crashes could have been prevented by small differences in driver behavior but saved for drivers’ recklessness (Redelmeier et al, 2003).

According to O’Brien (2011), the main theoretical perspectives was the frustration-aggression model which identifies both the person related and situational characteristics that contribute to aggressive driving as well as proposing that aggressive behaviors can serve either an instrumental or hostile function. Hostile aggressive drivers were also significantly more likely to engage in speeding, drink/drunk driving behavior.

A driver will adopt an instrumental aggressive behavior when there progress is impeded if it allows them to achieve their immediate goals (E.g reaching their destination as quickly as possible).

Recent studies have considered various psycho-social factors that contribute to reckless driving such as individual characteristics of a driver, driving violation, alcohol, drug use, fatigue, disability, self-esteem, mental health, parenting styles& family background, perception of risk (Javadi, et al 2015).

Studies suggest that those who drive commercial vehicles for a living are more likely to be involved in a vehicular accident than private motorists, even when mileage is taken into account (Chapman, Roberts &Underwood, 2000; Broughton et al, 2003). Indeed, accidents involving those employed who drive for a living account for a large proportion of the total number of work-related deaths in the world.

For example, in Australia, almost half of all motor vehicle accidents involve commercial drivers (Mitchell, Driscoll & Healey, 2004; Boufous & Williamson, 2006).Moreover, in Greece, 25 percent of all accidents involve heavy trucks (Tzamalouka, Papadakaki & Chliaoutakis, 2005). In Sweden, commercial drivers account for the greatest number of those injured or killed on the job relative to their representation in the work force, with driver deaths accounting for about 10 percent of all work-related fatalities in that country (Bylund, Björnstig & Larsson, 1997).

The disproportionate involvement of commercial drivers in moderate to severe motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) suggests the need to better understand what it is about commercial driving that may account for such a high accident rate. Given that commercial driving involves heavier vehicles demanding quicker response times, research into the factors increasing commercial drivers’ vulnerability have focused on psychosocial factors, and in particular, on those drivers’ reckless behaviors that may adversely affect driver awareness, mindfulness and/or response times such as driver exhaustion and alcohol misuse.

Drug abuse and alcohol has become such a problem of great concern to all well meaning Nigerian and particularly the Federal Government to the extent that the Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was established to combat the social disease with a view to reducing the spread of drug abuse to the barest minimum but the impact of the Agency is yet to be felt as drug abuse among commercial drivers in Lagos State continue to be a prime cause of commercial drivers recklessness.

Reckless and distracted driver are quietly causing a staggering amount of serious car accidents. In fact, driver distractions are the leading causes of most auto accidents. Driver distraction is the diversion of attention away from activities critical for safe driving toward a competing activity (Regan, Lee and Young, 2009). Distraction has been identified as an emerging road safety issue in Towards Zero Western Australian’s road safety for 2008-2020 (Road Safety Council, 2009). It is also being increasingly ranked by road safety authorities around the world as significant contributing factors to road traffic accidents (Regan, Lee and Young, 2009).

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has said over 80% of road traffic accidents involving commercial drivers on Nigeria roads are usually caused by what it described as “Psychosocial Factors”. Recklessness, avoidable aggression and road rage which manifest in excessive speeding, overloading, sleepiness, dangerous overtaking, and lack of consideration for other road users were identified by the commission as human factors responsible for the high rate of road traffic crash on the nations roads (FRSC, 2008).

Lagos state sector commander of the FRSC also mentioned that among the psychosocial factors were recklessness, drunkenness, poor quality drivers, indiscriminate parking, over speeding by commercial drivers, bad attitude and culture of driving as well as the attitude of policemen and other uniform men that left their duty of controlling traffic for the money they would get in their pockets, mobile phone use while driving, old age, fatigue, poor eyesight, adding that if precautionary measures were not put in place more deaths could still be recorded on our roads (Daniel, 2010).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Majority of the commercial drivers ignorantly depend on one form of drug or the other for their various daily activities. such drug include tobacco, Indian hemp, cocaine, morphine, Heroine, Alcohol, Epherdrine, Madras, caffeine, Glue, Barbiturates, Amphetamines etc (Daniel, 2010).

The costs of fatalities, injuries and death due to road traffic accidents have a tremendous impact on societal well-being and socio economic development. Road traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death and injury world-wide, causing an estimated 1.2 million deaths and 50 million injuries each year (WHO, 2007). In Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, for instance, road traffic accidents are common among commercial drivers due to psycho social factors such as family background, environment, family trauma, get rich quick, phone use, passenger distraction among others.

Preliminary research has shown that most of the commercial drivers operating in Lagos State take alcohol in the morning which would make them drive under influence, and give them extra energy, motivation, and fearlessness to speed limit, and this inevitably put the lives of the passengers at risk of possible elimination, working parents are killed or injured, many women have turned to premature widows, parents lost their wards in road traffic accident as a result of reckless driving and indiscriminate parking at the blind spot leaving children who relied solely on these deceased persons for sustenance.

Despite these challenges, the psycho-social factors predicting commercial drivers’ recklessness in Lagos State have not been studied empirically and thus the character and magnitude of the traffic problem in the area remain unknown. It is against this backdrop that this research seeks to investigate psychosocial factors predicting commercial drivers’ recklessness with a special reference to Ojo LGA of Lagos State.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The general objective of this study is to explore the effect of psycho-social factors on commercial drivers’ recklessness. Other specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. To examine the influence of drug use on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State.
  2. To assess the relationship between drunkenness and commercial drivers’ recklessness.
  3. To investigate the link between over-speeding and road traffic accidents.
  4. To find out the influence of use of seat-belt on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State.

1.4 Research Questions

The undertaking of this research project will beam a searchlight on the following research questions;

  1. What is the influence of drug use on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State?
  2. Is there any relationship between drunkenness and commercial drivers’ recklessness?
  3. To what extent is over-speeding related to road traffic accidents?
  4. Will the use of seat-belt have any influence on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The researcher intends to test the following hypotheses:

  1. There would be significant relationship between drug use and commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State.
  2. There would be relationship between drunkenness and commercial drivers’ recklessness
  3. There would be significant relationship between over-speeding and road traffic accidents.
  4. The use of seat-belt has no influence on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study was a bold attempt to bring the challenge posed by this hidden psycho-social factors predicting commercial drivers’ recklessness to help reduces cases of road traffic accidents so as to influence social action. It is the researcher’s sincere hope that its findings will add to knowledge on the subject and help fill, to a reasonable extent, the gap in our knowledge on the subject in the Nigerian setting in general and Lagos State in particular.

The findings of this study are expected to create awareness in commercial drivers on the horrors of recklessness, drug use, driving under the influence of alcohol, road rage, excessive speeding, overloading, fatigue, dangerous overtaking, and lack of consideration while driving, all this are ramped under psycho-social factors.

The outcomes of this study will be significant to future researchers and scholars especially those in the field of psychology.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study encompasses the psychosocial factors predicting commercial drivers’ recklessness. The study area is Ojo LGA of Lagos State, from where sample will be drawn. Ojo became a Local Government in May 1989. The Local Government area houses some industries, the foremost being the Volkswagen of Nigeria [ Von], an automobile assembly plant specializing in manufacturing an assembly of light and medium sized vehicles. Ojo is a tourist haven that attracts a lot of people from the Igba-land, Olojo beach, Ologe lagoon, Badagry creek. The land use of Ojo Local government include, Lagos State University (LASU), Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED) and the national post graduate medical college.


1.8 Organization of the Study

The study is divided into five chapters.

  • Chapter one contains the general introduction, research problem; objectives of the study, scope of study, significance of the study, etc.
  • Chapter two concentrates on review of relevant literature on psychosocial factors predicting commercial drivers’ recklessness; under the auspices of conceptual clarification, empirical review and appropriate theoretical foundation for the subject matter.
  • Chapter three focuses on the research methodology; which presents the population, sample and sampling techniques, data collection instruments, validity and reliability of the instruments, techniques of data collection and the method for data analysis.
  • Chapter four focuses on the data presentation, analysis and interpretation of data and
  • Chapter five contains the summary of the study; conclusion drawn and recommendations.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Definitions of words/phrase are not based on dictionary meanings but on usage by the researcher:

Psychosocial:

This term was used in the study to cover the interaction between social and psychological factors which defined the behaviour that commercial drivers exhibit.

Reckless:

This variable defines such behaviour by drivers without caring or showing regard for dangers and its possible consequences.

Commercial Drivers:

It covers drivers who are in the service of moving people are their goods from one point to another for an agreed amount of money.

Drugs:

The term is used in this report to refer to psychotropic drugs, i.e. chemical substances that affect the brain and the body.

Alcohol:

This is liquor that contains ethanol and has the potential to intoxicate drinkers.


Chapter Five


5.0 Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Discussion

This chapter consists of the discussion on the result and findings in previous chapter. Moreover, conclusion will be given in this chapter to establish a greater study in further research or investigation and lastly recommendations on how to reduce commercial drivers’ recklessness in Lagos State will be put forward.

The study painstakingly investigated the psychosocial factors predicting commercial drivers’ recklessness in Lagos State. Upon the administration of the research instrument and collection of data that was analyzed the following result was achieved:

Result from the first hypothesis revealed that there is a significant relationship between drug use and commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State. This result is consistent with the findings ofAtubi (2010), who carried out an empirical study on the patterns of Road Traffic Accidents in Lagos state using data for 32 years (1970-2001). His study revealed that more than 90% of road traffic accidents in Lagos State were attributed to recklessness on the part of drivers, with drug use or in-take being a prominent contributor.

The second hypothesis which stated that there is a significant relationship between drunkenness and commercial drivers’ recklessness was supported by this result. This implies that drunkenness has a significant statistical influence on commercial drivers’ recklessness. This result is in consonance with the findings of Al-Ghamdi (2002) that drunkenness is significantly related to commercial drivers’ recklessness. Moreover, it is on this strength that asserted that drug abuse and alcohol has become such a problem of great concern to all well meaning Nigerian and particularly the Federal Government to the extent that the Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was established to combat the social vice with a view to reducing the spread of drug abuse to the barest minimum.

The third hypothesis which stated that there is a significant relationship between over-speeding and road traffic accidents was found to be statistically significant. This result dovetails with the findings by Kwaga (2006) found in his study on socio-Economic effects of road traffic accidents in Nigeria that Road Traffic Accidents have become a major concern world over to the extent that lives are wasted daily. He confirms that causes of Road Traffic Accidents have been traced to human, environment and vehicular factors. It was on the fence of this result that Chapman, Roberts & Underwood (2000) argued that those who drive commercial vehicles for a living are more likely to be involved in a vehicular accident than private motorists, even when mileage is taken into account.

Finally, the fourth hypothesis which stated that use of seat-belt has influence on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State was supported by this result. The result means that use of seat-belt has a significant positive influence on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State. This result is in consonance with the findings of Redelmeier and Tibshirani (2007) shows that helmets and safety belts are effective in reducing fatalities and injuries.


5.2 Conclusions

Ability to drive successfully from point of origin to destination is an important component of road safety. However, in most part of the world especially in developing countries, substantial number of drivers does not get to their destinations successfully. This occurs as a result of drivers’ recklessness along the way. Most crashes are could have been prevented by small differences in driver behaviour but saved for drivers’ recklessness (Redelmeier et al, 2003). This research study explored the psychosocial factors predicting commercial drivers’ recklessness in Lagos State.

From the outcome of the study the following inferences could be drawn:

  1. Drug use is a significant predictor of commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State
  2. Drunkenness has a significant influence on commercial drivers’ recklessness
  3. Over-speeding has a significant influence on road traffic accidents
  4. Seat-belt is a determinant of commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State.

The study is segmented into five chapters. The chapter one contains the general introduction, research problem; purpose of study, scope of study, significance, e.t.c. Chapter two concentrates on review of relevant theories and empirical literature both from studies done outside and within Nigeria. Chapter three was focused on the research methodology, which embodied the design, setting, population, sample and sampling technique, psychometric properties, procedure and statistical analysis. Chapter four was focused on the analysis of the hypotheses while chapter five presented the discussion of the results of the findings, conclusion drawn and recommendations put forward.


5.3 Recommendation and Implication of Study

In line with the findings and conclusion reached, the following policy recommendations were propounded:

The result of my findings has shown that drug use is impacting negatively on commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State. Thus, the drivers’ tendency of using drugs while driving should be stopped and face misdemeanor fines ranging from N50,000 to N100,000.

The Lagos State government through the commissioner for transportation should organization seminar and workshops for all commercial drivers with the intent of refreshing commercial drivers’ knowledge about the rudiment of safe driving so that the inevitable bad habits of reckless driving acquired can be reduced at a relatively early stage.

Moreover, the result of this research revealed that over-speeding has a significant influence on road traffic accidents. Commercial divers should always obey the advocated speed limits and preventive techniques instituted by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) against car accident. The implication is that over speeding if not checked will continue to cause mayhem on our roads.

All drivers should attend regular mandatory driver education and training courses, annual driver examination to upgrade their driving skills and also to be continuously made aware of the importance of using seat-belt while driving in Lagos State. Since the result of this study indicated that seat-belt is a determinant of commercial drivers’ safety in Lagos State.

Given that alcohol and drunkenness have been implicated in reckless driving, there should be a concerted effort by the Lagos State Traffic Maintenance Authority (LASTMA), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other concerned bodies and agencies to dissuade commercial drivers from drinking.


5.4 Limitation of the Study

This work is limited to the study of commercial drivers in Ojo Local Government of Lagos state. The work evaluated factors that influenced their behavior on the road and subsequent implication of such behavior in other road users and the society. However with more time, resources the work could be extended to other Local Government of the state.


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