Substance Use Among Long Distance Commercial Vehicle Drivers: Onset and the Influence of Education

Okpataku CI


Background: There is a growing global concern about the risks of drugged-driving among long distance commercial vehicle drivers. Very little is known about the influence of extraneous factors on this pattern of behavior.

Objective: To determine the onset of substance use and the relationship between long distance drivers’ level of formal education, knowledge of substance use risks, attendance at campaigns against substance use and their current wish on drugged-driving in the future.

Materials & Methods: This was a study of all long distance commercial drivers travelling a distance of at least 500kilometers from Kaduna city. Each consecutive 4th driver who was to load his vehicle for the day responded to a semi-structured proforma which sought information such as age, highest level of education, onset and type of substance used and attendance at campaigns against drug use, until at least the minimum sample size was attained. Data obtained was analysed using the SPSS version 16. P<0.05 was considered significant. Results: 274 drivers were interviewed. All were males, with about 76% of them being current substance users. The commonest substances used were stimulants, nicotine and alcohol. A statistically significant proportion of drivers who were aware of the risks associated with drugged-driving wished to continue drug use (p<0.007). Most drivers had been using substances before they commenced long distance driving.

Conclusion: Knowledge of the risks of substance use among drivers may be a crucial factor to consider not only in the strategies against drugged-driving but also in the evaluation of their impact.

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substance; use; drivers; education

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