Behaviours of Drivers on Zambian Roads: A Cross Sectional Study

Research Article

Austin J Public Health Epidemiol. 2016; 3(4): 1044.

Behaviours of Drivers on Zambian Roads: A Cross Sectional Study

Biemba G1,2*, Chanda-Kapata P3, Munalula NE4, Ngosa W3, Metitiri M3, Kanchele CC5 and Chizema E3

¹Zambia Centre for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD), Zambia

²Department of Public Health, Centre for Global Health and Development, Boston University, USA

³Department of Disease Surveillance, Control and Research, Ministry of Health, Zambia

4School of Medicine, University of Zambia, Zambia

5Road Transport and Safety Agency, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Zambia

*Corresponding author: Biemba G, Zambian Centre for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD) Limited, 4186 Addis Ababa Drive, Long acres, PO Box 30910, Lusaka, Zambia

Received: May 16, 2016; Accepted: June 27, 2016; Published: July 04, 2016


Objectives: The main objective of this paper is to document drivers’ behaviours most prevalent in Zambia in order to inform the development and implementation of road safety interventions to deal with those behaviours.

Methods: A driver behavior survey adapted from the Manchester driver behavior survey was used to interview 879 motor vehicle drivers. Actual driver behavior was documented through direct observations at strategic points.

Results: Of the 879 drivers interviewed, 29.4% said they disregarded speed limit on a motor way, and 37.0% used a mobile phone while driving., 37.7% of the drivers said they underestimated the speed of an oncoming vehicle when overtaking and about a third (29.2%) of the drivers said they attempted to overtake someone they had not noticed to be signaling right turn. The most commonly observed potentially risky behaviours were: not wearing seat belts (45.5% among drivers and 61.1% among front seat passengers respectively), not stopping at pedestrians crossing while pedestrians were waiting to cross (44.5%), not dimming lights to on-coming traffic (29.1%), and overtaking another motor vehicle on solid lines (28.8%).

Conclusion: This study has demonstrated that adverse driver behaviour is prevalent in Zambia, implying the need to focus more on strategies that impact on modifying driver behaviours.

Keywords: Road traffic accidents; Road traffic crashes; Driver behaviour; Zambia


AIDS: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; BAC: Blood Alcohol Concentration; CGHD: Centre for Global Health and Development; DBQ: Driver Behaviour Questionnaire; HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus; MOH: Ministry of Health; RTC: Road Traffic Crashes; RTSA: Road Traffic and Safety Agency; SUV: Sport Utility Vehicle; WHO: World Health Organization; ZCAHRD: Zambian Centre for Applied Health Research and Development


Road Traffic Crashes (RTCs) and fatalities arising from these crushes continue to pose a global public health challenge. The World Health Organization (WHO) records that each year 1.3 million people die as a result of RTCs, translating into 3000 deaths per day or 125 deaths every hour. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) [1]. Africa has some of the highest rates of road traffic deaths globally with a rate of 32 deaths per hundred thousand people annually. Zambia continues to experience a very high rate of road traffic crashes, ranked as the third leading cause of death after HIV/AIDS and malaria within Lusaka Province [2]. Apart from the physical impact that RTCs have at a personal level, they have negative impacts on the economic development of the country, with an estimated cost of 1-2% of a country’s Gross National Product (GNP) per annum, as a result of morbidity, mortality and property – related costs [3]. While the growth of transport systems in our world contributes to economic development, such as facilitating the movement of goods and people [4], the development of the transport sector has also resulted in a number of RTCs [5,6], a matter that has raised great concerns [7]. Behavioural practices such as lack of seatbelt utilization, not wearing motorcycle helmets, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, and the use of mobile phones to text messages while driving, are all risk taking behaviours that lead to increases in Road Traffic Injuries (RTIs) [8-11]. Very few studies have been done in Zambia on road user behaviour. One such a study was a pedestrian survey conducted in April 2013 to explore the random behaviour and attitudes of pedestrians as they cross the roads or walk on the walk-ways in Lusaka district of Zambia [12]. The other study was also conducted in Lusaka and its objective was to monitor the rates of wearing seatbelts among drivers, front passengers, and rear passengers in the city of Lusaka, Zambia [13]. However, there has been no comprehensive study that explored the behaviour of Zambian drivers on the road covering different parts of Zambia and using mixed research methods. This paper uses the results of a larger study conducted in 2014 to describe specific behaviours of drivers on the Zambian roads. The goal of the paper is to highlight these behaviours, with the aim of providing road safety policy makers and strategists to develop appropriate measures to deal with negative deviant behaviours on the road.

Materials and Methods

The main study from which the data reported here is derived was a cross-sectional survey of the status of road safety and road safety interventions in Zambia, using quantitative and qualitative methods, inspections, and observation methods. The study was conducted