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Eur Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;26(1):23-7. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

Mental disorders and delivery motorcycle drivers (motoboys): a dangerous association.

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  • 1ADHD Outpatient Clinic, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Porto Alegre, Brazil.



Low and middle-income countries experience an expressive growth in the number of circulating motorcycles, paralleled by an increasing number of traffic accidents. Delivery motorcycles drivers ("motoboys") are generally perceived as accountable for this scenario. Although traffic accidents have a multivariate etiology, mental disorders, such as substance use disorders (SUD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are often involved. This paper aims at investigating the prevalence of ADHD, SUD and other mental disorders in a sample of Brazilian motoboys, and additionally, to evaluate the association between psychiatric diagnoses, motorcycle accidents and traffic violation tickets.


A convenient sample of subjects was invited to participate in a cross-sectional assessment including an inventory of traffic accidents and violations. Psychiatric diagnoses were based on semi-structured and clinical interviews.


A sample of 101 motoboys was assessed. Overall, 75% of subjects had a positive lifetime history of at least one psychiatric disorder. SUD was the most frequent diagnosis (43.6% for alcohol, 39.6% for cannabis). ADHD was associated with a higher number of traffic accidents (p=0.002), and antisocial personality disorder (APD) was associated with a greater number of traffic violations (p=0.007).


The prevalence of mental disorders was much higher in our sample than in the general population. ADHD and APD, but not SUD, were associated with negative traffic outcomes. These findings have implications for public mental health planning since mental disorders can be both prevented and treated, improving driving behavior and increasing road safety.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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