Research Papers

Pedestrian Traffic Injury Among People with a Pre-existing Medical Condition or Physical Disability in Toronto, Canada

Version 1
Date added July 10, 2018
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Category 2018 CARSP XXVIII Victoria
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 5C
Author/Auteur Buliung, Daniel, Rothman
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

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According to Statistics Canada, an estimated 3.8 million Canadians, aged 15 years or older, reported having some type of disability. The prevalence of disability in the Province of Ontario is 15.4%; 5th highest nationally. Research into disability and pedestrian motor vehicle collisions (PMVC) emphasizes acquired disability, with little attention given to the presence of a pre-existing medical condition or disability (PMCPD) as a collision risk factor. The needs of pedestrian with PMCPD are overlooked or at best misunderstood within a prevention and infrastructure context that clearly emphasizes "able" bodied pedestrians. This paper addresses the disability gap in injury epidemiological research, with a preliminary exploration of PMVC among pedestrians with PMCPD, in Toronto Canada. This research aims to 1) explore the relationship between PMCPD and sustaining pedestrian injury and 2) identify factors that impact or affect injury severity and frequency among pedestrians with PMCPD in Toronto, Canada. This paper represents a preliminary exploration of the distribution of cases by age. Collision data were obtained from the Toronto Police Services' collision reporting center for the years 2000-2016. These data include: collision classification, pedestrian and vehicle action, injury severity and initial impact type. PMCPD for involved persons (pedestrians, cyclists, drivers) are distinguished within the data. In this paper, we describe the occurrence and severity of PMVC in pedestrians with PMCPD by age. We identified 519 pedestrians with PMCPD involved in a collision. Sixty two percent of PMVCs were in adults (ages 20 to 64 years), 29% in the elderly (age 65+), and 9% in children and youth (ages 0 to 19 years). Minimal or minor injuries were the most common across all age groups and represented 77% of all injuries. Of the 71 major injuries, the highest proportions were among adults (63%) and the elderly (34%). Of the 23 fatalities, 61% occurred among the elderly, followed by adults (35%) and children (4%). Age-based differences in the occurrence and severity of PMVC among those with PMCPD were identified. The concentration of fatalities among elderly PMCPDs likely points to the impact of co- morbidity on injury/fatality risk. The impact of the broader health status of pedestrians on collision risk is a salient issue, considering our ageing population. Moreover, the visibility (i.e., reduced view-shed and height of someone in a wheelchair) and speed of pedestrians (e.g., using a mobility aid) and vehicles alike are impacted by the position and capabilities of the minds and bodies of all participants. The needs of pedestrians with PMCDS must be considered when designing and evaluating road environments, to ensure they are not at increased risk of PMVC. People who identify as having a PMCPD should be included in the conversation about pedestrian injury prevention in meaningful ways. More research is needed to address the gap in knowledge regarding disability in injury epidemiology.