|dc.description.sponsorship||Background: The occurrence of road traffic crashes results from a variety of factors which may be dependent on the vehicle, the individual operating it and the way they interact with other road users. Only a few studies have been done on road accidents and road safety in Uganda. One study showed that minibus taxis caused 33% of the road traffic accidents among motorists (Andrews CN et.al, 1999). The 2015 Uganda Police traffic reports indicated that 81% of the road traffic accidents were due to human factors, 15% were due to unknown causes, 2.5% were due to motor vehicle condition. However, the human factors could not be further broken down and clarified (Turyahikayo, 2018). The rest were caused by road environment and weather condition.
Persuaded by this knowledge gap, Uganda’s high rate of road fatalities (WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety, 2018) and the prevalence of a significant level of visual impairment both worldwide and locally and guided by similar previous studies in Ghana, the study adopted a cross-sectional design with a sample of 390 respondents, all of which were active minibus taxi drivers in Kampala district.
Objective: To assess the relationship between visual function impairment and road traffic crashes among taxi drivers in Kampala Methods: Data was collected using interviewer-administered questionnaires and visual function assessment through an ocular examination and tallied manually. The data was sequentially analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2010. The data was described by the measures of central tendency and by measures of variability. Results: The findings of the study revealed that the majority of the drivers (95.13%) had sufficient visual acuity for driving. Only 19 drivers (4.87%) had visual impairment by WHO standards (worse than 6/12 but better than 3/60 in the better-seeing eye). 40% of these had been involved in a road traffic accident which is a weak positive correlation (r=0.079399, p=0.11748).
Seven drivers (1.79%) were found to have constricted visual fields, 5 of whom reported being involved in a crash. There is an obvious strong positive correlation between driver visual field defects and road accidents (r=0.134464, p=0.007837). 29 drivers (7.44%) were found to have colour vision anomalies with the HRR pseudo isochromatic test. Of these, 17 had been involved in road traffic crashes. This highlights a very significant association between these anomalies and road accidents (r=0.195898, p=0.0000986).
Only 11 (2.82%) drivers were found to have poor stereopsis and 3 of these had been involved in road traffic accidents, almost no correlation (r=0.001597, p=0.974914). 4.87% of the drivers were found to have clinically significant refractive errors though none was corrected. 58.46% (228) of the drivers were presbyopic but only 9.21% (21) of the presbyopia was corrected.
108 (27.69%) drivers reported prior involvement in crashes. The reported causes were car/mechanical failure (50%), pedestrian error (15.74%), bodaboda error (10.19%), driving when sleepy (6.48%), over speeding (10.19%), driving in foggy conditions (3.70%) and other driver’s error (3.70%). It was established that a driver who didn’t attend driving school was twice as likely to have been involved in an RTA compared to one who attended driving school.
Conclusion: There are a considerable number of taxi drivers with visual function impairment in Kampala district. There is significant relation between inadequate vision and road traffic accidents although the causality is uncertain. The need for good vision for safe driving has been highlighted. However, the leading reported cause of accidents is vehicle failure.
A lot of the drivers had never undergone an eye examination even though it is part of the national guidelines before licensing. This means drivers with terrible vision can find their way to Ugandan roads, endangering lives.
We recommended that there be stricter and more regular checks on the state of the motor vehicle health to push out DMCs from Ugandan roads. There should be stricter enforcement of the policy on mandatory comprehensive eye examination by a competent professional who can be an optometrist, ophthalmologist or an ophthalmic clinical officer. The examination should include visual acuity testing, colour vision, visual field and stereopsis. There should be wide-spread sensitization of the public about safe road practices and the use of road traffic signs and demarcated road crossing points.||en_US