A Pilot Study of Visual Function Parameters and Their Relationship to Road Traffic Accidents among Drivers in Trinidad and Tobago

  •  Kingsley K. Ekemiri    
  •  Prashan Seepersad    
  •  Ngozika E. Ezinne    
  •  Krista Seetaram    
  •  Niall Farnon    


BACKGROUND: Vision attributes to about 95% of the sensory requirements for driving. When driving, impaired visual functions will undoubtedly result in a delayed response to obstructions. The regulations governing the issuing and renewal of a driver’s license in Trinidad make no provision of a visual requirement assessment. The study was prompted by an upsurge in road traffic accidents in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin-island nation. AIM: This pilot study investigates the relationship between defects in visual functions and traffic accidents among drivers on the island of Trinidad. METHODOLOGY: This descriptive cross-sectional study utilizes a non-probability purposive sampling approach to enroll licensed drivers who had been driving within the island’s districts for the past five years, the study conducted at a Multi-Health-Training Facility in Trinidad’s Central Area. After completing a semi-structured questionnaire, participants were given a full eye examination. RESULTS: 128 licensed drivers, both male and female, were enrolled for this study with ages ranging from 20 to 70 years with a mean age of 40.9 years ± 13.3 years, in which majority (83.6%, n = 107) of the drivers did not perform an eye exam before obtaining/renewing their driver’s license. About 32% (n = 41) of these drivers were involved in an RTA in the last five years. There was a statistically significant association between colour vision defect (x² = 15.94, p = 0.00), contrast sensitivity with a logCS score of less than 1.52 (x² = 25.05, p = 0.00, Cramer’s V= 0.442) and the occurrence of road traffic accident. CONCLUSION: According to this study, one-quarter of drivers have been involved in a road traffic accident within the last five years, and three-quarters have never had an eye examination before obtaining or renewing their driver’s license. The relevance of designing and developing a screening protocol that can be easily applied to driving safety licensing policies were established in this study. Based on these findings, prospective driver’s license applicants must undergo a complete eye examination, to drastically reduce RTAs.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.