Selected characteristics and injury patterns by age group among pedestrians treated in North Carolina emergency departments

The objective of this study was to describe pedestrian demographic characteristics, crash characteristics, selected health outcomes, and injury patterns by age using linked North Carolina (NC) crash–emergency department (ED) visit data for the period October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2015. This was a descriptive epidemiologic study. To examine both crash and health outcomes, NC pedestrian crash records were linked to statewide NC ED visit records using hierarchical deterministic methods. Pearson chi-square tests were used to compare the frequencies of pedestrians treated in NC EDs by sex, race/ethnicity, crash location, rurality, estimated driver speed at impact, ambient light, hospitalization/death, location of injury, and nature of injury, stratified by the following age groups: 0–14, 15–24, 25–64, and ≥65 years. Most pedestrians treated in NC EDs were male (57.5%), except among adults ≥65 years old (47.5%). Over half of all injured pedestrians aged 0–14 (52.6%) and 15–24 (50.5%) years were Black/African American, and 70.8% of injured pedestrians ≥65 years were white. Among pedestrians aged 25–64 years, no single racial/ethnic group was the majority. Though most pedestrians were injured on trafficways (71.7%) and at speeds ≤35 mph (80.1%), adults ≥65 years were less likely to be involved in on-trafficway crashes (51.0%) and pedestrians aged 15–24 years were more likely to be involved in >35 mph crashes (22.9%) compared to other age groups. Most pedestrians were injured under daylight conditions (56.9%). Regarding selected health outcomes, the highest frequency of hospitalization/death was for pedestrians aged ≥65 years (26.3%), compared to those aged 0–14 years (18.8%) and 15–64 years (12.4%). In terms of location of injury, 0- to 14-year-olds had the highest proportion of head injuries (39.5%), and adults ≥65 years of age had the highest proportion of spinal column/vertebral column (12.6%) and upper extremity injuries (33.2%). For nature of injury, 0- to 14-year-olds had the highest proportion of traumatic brain injuries (11.4%) and superficial wounds and contusions (62.8%). Adults aged ≥65 years had the highest proportion of open wounds/amputations and fractures (16.1%). Adults aged 25–64 years had the highest proportion of strains/sprains/dislocations (18.7%). There were considerable differences in demographic characteristics, crash characteristics, frequency of hospitalization/death, and injury patterns by age group. It is important to design streets and implement transportation policies and programs that improve safety for all pedestrians.


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  • Accession Number: 01774384
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 16 2021 9:26AM