EMF Health-effects Research

Prevalence of mobile phone use while driving vehicles

Astrain I, Bernaus J, Claverol J, Escobar A, Godoy P

Gac Sanit 17(1):66-69, 2003

[Article in Spanish]

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of mobile telephone use while driving vehicles in the city of Lleida (Spain).Methods: A random sample of 1536 cars passing through six intersections regulated by traffic lights in Lleida were selected (three with urban traffic and three with interurban traffic). Cyclists, motorcyclists and driving school cars were excluded. The variables studied were mobile telephone use, age, (18-40; 41-60; >61), sex, the presence of passengers, type of intersection (urban traffic/interurban traffic), day of the week (working day/weekend or holiday) and hour of the day (rush hour/non-rush hour).

The prevalence of mobile telephone use was calculated in percentages with a 95% CI. The relationship among the dependent variable (mobile telephone use) and the other independent variables was studied using odds radios (OR) and 95% CI.

Results: A total of 1536 direct observations were made and mobile telephone use was detected in 50 drivers. The prevalence was 3.3 (95% CI, 2.4-4.3). The prevalence was higher in men (OR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.0-5.7), in drivers aged more than 60 years old (OR = 2.2; 95% CI, 0.5-8,4) and in those aged 18-40 years old (OR =1.5; 95% CI, 0.8-3.0), in unaccompanied drivers (OR = 3.0; 95% CI, 1.5-6.3), in urban intersections (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 1.2-5.9), on workdays (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 0.9-4.4) and at the rush hour (OR =1.4; 95% CI, 0.8-2.4).

Conclusions: The prevalence of mobile telephone use while driving vehicles can be considered high, because of the increase in car accidents. The profile of drivers using mobile telephones corresponds to men aged 18-40 years or more than 61 years, in urban intersections, without passengers, during workdays and at the rush hour. We recommend the implementation of measures to decrease the use of mobile telephones while driving.

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