Risky driving behaviour in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: A cross-sectional, survey-based study

Latifa Mohammad Baynouna Alketbi, Michal Grivna, Saeed Al Dhaheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Traffic collision fatality rates per mile travelled have declined in Abu Dhabi similar to many developed countries. Nevertheless, the rate is still significantly higher than the average of countries with similar GDP and socio-demographic indicators. The literature on the subject in the UAE is limited especially in the area of studying drivers behaviour. This study aims to find determinants of risky driving behaviours that precipitate having a road traffic collision (RTC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods: A cross-sectional, survey-based study was employed. Participants were 327 active drivers who were attending Abu Dhabi Ambulatory Health Care Services clinics. They were provided with a questionnaire consisting of demography, lifestyle history, medical history, driving history, and an RTC history. They were also given a driving behaviour questionnaire, a distracted driving survey, depression screening and anxiety screening. Results: Novice drivers (less than 25 years old) were 42% of the sample and 79% were less than 35 years. Those who reported a history of an RTC constituted 39.8% of the sample; nearly half (47.1%) did not wear a seatbelt during the collision. High scores in the driving behaviour questionnaire and high distraction scores were evident in the sample. Most distraction-prone individuals were young (90.5% were less than 36 years old). High scores in the driving behaviour questionnaire were also associated with high distraction scores (p < 0.001). Respondents with high depression risk were more likely to be involved in the RTC. With each one-point increase in the driver's distraction score, the likelihood of a car crash being reported increased by 4.9%. Conclusion: Drivers in the UAE engage in risky behaviours and they are highly distracted. Some behaviours that contribute to severe and even fatal injuries in RTCs include failing to wear a seatbelt and being distracted. Younger people were more likely distracted, while older drivers were more likely to have higher depression scores. Depression is suggested as a determinant factor in risky driving. These findings are informative to other countries of similar socioeconomic status to the UAE and to researchers in this field in general.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1324
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 31 2020


  • Depression
  • Distracted driving
  • Road traffic collision
  • driver's behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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