In the past five years, the fatality rate among motorcyclists in Mexico has increased significantly; this increase coincides with an increase in the motorcycle fleet. And because motorcycles are less costly and more fuel-efficient than other types of vehicles, this upward trend in use is likely to continue.
Recently, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) team members, including research program coordinator, Jeffrey C. Lunnen, director, Adnan Hyder and associated faculty, Aruna Chandran, along with collaborators from the Center for Health Systems Research at the National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca and Fundación Entornos, also in Cuernavaca, Mexico, published a study on mobile phone use among motorcyclists in three Mexican cities.
While several studies have indicated that using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of being involved in a road traffic crash by as much as four times, distracted driving is still an emerging risk factor for driving, and as such, very little data is available on its prevalence. In fact, what little data is available is mostly focused on four-wheeled vehicles, pedestrians and, most recently, bicyclists. All indications suggest that “The Prevalence of Mobile Phone Use Among Motorcyclists in Three Mexican Cities,” published in Traffic Injury Prevention, is the first study of its kind.
In Mexico, only a few cities prohibit handheld mobile devices while driving—cities like Guadalajara-Zapopan, Jalisco and León, Guanajuato—and enforcement is difficult. The purpose of this study was to quantify the frequency of mobile phone use while driving a motorcycle in those three cities and to identify possible risk factors associated with that behavior.
The study determined that, while the prevalence is low, it is higher than what has been previously reported in China among electric bicycle riders. This, coupled with the growing popularity of motorcycles and the wide availability of relatively inexpensive mobile devices, may indicate potential increases in crashes, injuries and deaths.
To learn more about the study, click here.