Aetiological factors contributing to road traffic accidents in Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia

J R Soc Health. 1996 Oct;116(5):304-11. doi: 10.1177/146642409611600508.


The study analysed 13,390 police records of road traffic accidents (RTAs) covering a three and a half year period according to different suspected aetiological factors. The majority of the accidents were recorded for vehicles in good condition on well-paved straight roads with well-operating traffic light systems. Adverse weather conditions such as precipitation, fog and dust were of minimal importance, with most of the accidents being reported during sunny days during the rush period of 12 noon to 3 pm. Driver's error was identified as the main contributing factor in about two thirds of all RTAs mainly as reckless driving and excess speeding. About 27% of the drivers were professional drivers and 41% were in the age group 25-35 years in good health with no alcohol or drug intake. Hence, human errors may be attributed to carelessness, experience, lack of knowledge or attention, over-exhaustion or fatigue. The effects of physical stressors on performance of drivers need to be further explored and clarified but this need not underestimate the importance of vehicle and environment since most accidents are multifactoral and a slight change in them may effectively enhance perception and minimise personal error. Recommendations for remedial measures adopting an interdisciplinary approach are presented.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*