Visual Impairment and Risk of Self-Reported Road Traffic Crashes Among Bus Drivers in Bangladesh
This study assesses the prevalence and the causes of visual impairment among bus drivers undergoing screening in Bangladesh and associations with self-reported crashes.
Eye health screenings including refraction and questionnaires were conducted at 10 bus terminals in 7 districts of Bangladesh from June through August 2019. Presenting near and distance visual impairment and self-reported road traffic crashes were recorded.
Among 700 participants, nearly 1 in 5 (n = 126, 18.0%) had presented visual acuity (VA) in the better-seeing eye ≤6/9, not meeting the vision standard of Bangladesh for bus drivers.
A majority of drivers (n = 492, 70.3%) had near or distance refractive error, and most who failed to reach the driving standard (88.1%, n = 111) could be improved with readily available treatment, either glasses or cataract surgery.
A history of 1 or more road traffic crashes while driving a bus or minibus was reported by 62 (8.97%) participants. In multivariable models, factors significantly associated with near or distance visual impairment included older age [odds ratio (OR) per year 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12–1.18, P < 0.0001] and having no driver's license (OR 1.80, 95% CI: 1.04–3.13, P = 0.037). Self-reported history of a motor vehicle crash was associated with near or distance visual impairment (OR 2.45, 95% CI: 1.09–5.49, P = 0.030), even when adjusting for other factors such as age and weekly miles are driven.
Ensuring that bus drivers are screened to meet the required visual standards for driving while referring those who do not for treatment, can contribute to safer roads in this high-risk setting.