Motor Vehicle Transportation Use and Related Adverse Events Among Persons Who Use Wheelchairs

This article reports on a study undertaken to investigate the characteristics of transportation use in a population of wheelchair users and to examine the motor vehicle crash involvement and injury frequency of these users. The authors note that for the 2.2 million people who use wheelchairs in the United States, transportation is often needed for independence in the community. The authors collected data in a telephone survey with 596 individuals between June 2002 and November 2003. The distribution of medical conditions leading to disability showed that one third reported some type of spinal cord injury; another 28% reported either cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Overall, 42% of the participants reported being drivers; most also rode as passengers in private vehicles (87%) or public vehicles (61%). Approximately 20% of the sample population had been involved in a motor vehicle crash in the previous 3 years, resulting in a rate of 3.6 accidents/incidents per 100,000 miles traveled. Crashes were defined as any motor vehicle accident that the person was involved in during the previous 3 years. Persons who did not transfer from their wheelchair were more likely to be involved in a crash than those individuals who transferred to vehicle seats. Eighteen percent of the population reported involvement in a non-crash-related incident during the previous 3 years. These injuries included falling out of the wheelchair or the wheelchair tipping over. Passengers reported a greater frequency of non-crash-related injuries than did drivers. The authors note that safety in motor vehicles for this population may be affected by several factors, including the seating status of the occupant (transfer to vehicle seat or reamin seated in wheelchair), occupant restraint use, and wheelchair securement.

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  • Authors:
    • Fitzgerald, Shirley G
    • Songer, Thomas J
    • Rotko, Katherine A
    • Karg, Patricia
  • Publication Date: 2007


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01103767
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2008 7:09AM