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Disparities in road crash mortality among pedestrians using wheelchairs in the USA: results of a capture–recapture analysis
  1. John D Kraemer1,
  2. Connor S Benton2
  1. 1Department of Health Systems Administration, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA
  2. 2School of Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor John D Kraemer; jdk32{at}


Objective This study aims to quantify and describe the burden of fatal pedestrian crashes among persons using wheelchairs in the USA from 2006 to 2012.

Design The occurrence of fatal pedestrian crashes among pedestrians using wheelchairs was assessed using two-source capture-recapture. Descriptive analysis of fatal crashes was conducted using customary approaches.

Setting Two registries were constructed, both of which likely undercounted fatalities among pedestrians who use wheelchairs. The first used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and the second used a LexisNexis news search.

Outcome measures Mortality rate (per 100 000 person-years) and crash-level, driver-level and pedestrian-level characteristics of fatal crashes.

Results This study found that, from 2006 to 2012, the mortality rate for pedestrians using wheelchairs was 2.07/100 000 person-years (95% CI 1.60 to 2.54), which was 36% higher than the overall population pedestrian mortality rate (p=0.02). Men's risk was over fivefold higher than women's risk (p<0.001). Compared to the overall population, persons aged 50–64 using wheelchairs had a 38% increased risk (p=0.04), and men who use wheelchairs aged 50–64 had a 75% increased risk over men of the same age in the overall population (p=0.006). Almost half (47.6%; 95% CI 42.8 to 52.5) of fatal crashes occurred in intersections and 38.7% (95% CI 32.0 to 45.0) of intersection crashes occurred at locations without traffic control devices. Among intersection crashes, 47.5% (95% CI 40.6 to 54.5) involved wheelchair users in a crosswalk; no crosswalk was available for 18.3% (95% CI 13.5 to 24.4). Driver failure to yield right-of-way was noted in 21.4% (95% CI 17.7 to 25.7) of crashes, and no crash avoidance manoeuvers were detected in 76.4% (95% CI 71.0 to 81.2).

Conclusions Persons who use wheelchairs experience substantial pedestrian mortality disparities calling for behavioural and built environment interventions.


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