HCMC – Almost one-third of ride-hailing drivers in Vietnam have had a road accident, with an astounding 80% attributing the cause to their own risky driving, according to new research.
Ride-hailing services are a vital transport option for people in Vietnam, and with the rise of new technologies, these app-based services have become increasingly popular. Yet, little is known about risky driving behaviors and their association with traffic crashes among app-based motorcycle taxi drivers.
Researchers from RMIT University and transport scientists from three Vietnamese universities have examined risky road behaviors in the recently published study “Risky behaviors associated with traffic crashes among app-based motorcycle taxi drivers in Vietnam,” which surveyed over 600 drivers from Hanoi, HCMC and Danang.
Dr Chris De Gruyter from the RMIT Centre for Urban Research noted that mobile phone use while driving was the most frequent risky behavior listed, with 52% of respondents engaging in this activity.
“Mobile phones are considered a necessary tool for app-based motorcycle taxi drivers, so this result is not surprising,” he said.
“Drivers need to use their smartphones to receive ride requests from customers and contact them if necessary to confirm pick-up points. Some drivers also use their smartphones as a GPS device, which can impact their driving performance.”
Neglecting to use signals when making a turn was the second most common risky behavior among app-based motorcycle taxi drivers.
“Failure to use turn signals is also considered to be significantly associated with vehicle crashes,” Dr De Gruyter remarked.
“Nearly 31% of our surveyed drivers admitted they did not signal when making a turn at least several times a year.”
The study found student drivers and those on lower incomes were more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as encroaching into car lanes, exceeding speed limits, running red lights, recklessly overtaking and driving under the influence of alcohol.
“Previous research shows that drivers with lower levels of income tend to engage in risky driving and were involved in traffic crashes when attempting to increase their income by working longer hours,” Dr De Gruyter stated.
“We found that drivers working more than 50 hours per week were more likely to engage in most of the risky behaviors.”
Given that these app-based services are regulated by online ride-hailing firms, Dr De Gruyter noted that the reported incidents of risky driving behaviors among drivers was concerning.
“With the continual growth and expansion of these services in developing countries, targeted interventions are needed to reduce risky driving and crash rates among app-based motorcycle taxi drivers,” he said.
“This points to an opportunity for ride-hailing firms to determine those at risk through increased exposure and to intervene to reduce risky driving. Increasing safety awareness among the identified groups through targeted training sessions organized by ride-hailing firms could help reduce the frequency of road accidents.”