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Wheelchair-Bound Pedestrians at Higher Risk of Traffic Deaths

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Nov 23, 2015 in Auto Accidents

wheelchair-bound pedestrian accidentsThe risk of being in a fatal pedestrian traffic accident is one-third higher for wheelchair users than the rest of the population. Approximately 528 wheelchair users were killed in pedestrian traffic accidents between 2006 and 2012 in the United States.

By evaluating crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, disturbing trends were uncovered by Georgetown University researchers. They determined that wheelchair users are more likely to be killed in pedestrian traffic accidents. Their risk of death is six percent higher than the general population. Wheelchair-bound men are approximately five times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian crash than women in wheelchairs.

For the purpose of this study, only risk was analyzed, not the reason why wheelchair-bound pedestrians are more likely to be killed in traffic accidents. Despite the study's focus, there are some clues as to why these accidents may occur:

  • Drivers made no attempt to brake or maneuver away from a wheelchair-bound pedestrian in approximately three-quarters of the accidents analyzed, suggesting that drivers didn't see the victim with enough time to react.
  • Due to factors such as height, speed and location, wheelchair users may not be as visible to drivers.
  • These accidents often occur at points in the roadway where drivers are not expecting wheelchair users to be, such as at intersections which don't have appropriate traffic signals or signage.
  • Areas without sidewalks or adequate lighting force wheelchair users into the road, putting them at higher risk of accident involvement. To counteract this, communities need to be designed in accordance with the requirements laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you have lost a wheelchair-bound loved one in a pedestrian traffic accident, the auto accident lawyers at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings is here to help. We will aggressively pursue compensation for your loss.

Contact us at 877-920-9009 for a free consultation.