Rollator related pedestrian single accidents and collision events in Sweden
Keywords:acute injuries, elderly, rollators, traffic environment, vulnerable road users (VRUs), four-wheeled walkers
Rollators (four-wheel walkers in USA; zimmer frames in UK) are commonly used as mobility aids for the elderly and people with a variety of disabilities. Pedestrian rollator users are a sub-group of Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs), although this group is rarely recognised in traffic safety contexts. The aim of this study is to extract and analyse rollator related pedestrian accident and injury data in Sweden. The results will provide valuable insight into the risks and obstacles rollator users are exposed to in the traffic environment and may in the long term contribute to improving the mobility of this group. The current study is based on data from 2,020 accidents involving 2,305 persons extracted from the Swedish Traffic Accident Data Acquisition (STRADA) database. For consistency reasons, a subset of data (N = 745) was analysed in order to investigate the development of accidents over a period of 10 years. Thereafter, each accident in the whole data set was registered as either single or collision. The results show that the number of rollator accidents in Sweden increased by approximately 80% during 2007–2016. Females dominate the injury statistics of single accidents, collisions, as well as fatal outcome, which may be due to exposure and/or differences in physical characteristics. Single accidents are much more common than collisions (n=1,668 and n=352, respectively) and the injury consequences are at least as serious. Data from the present study have revealed that the frequency of minor injuries (ISS 1–3) is 4.3 times, moderate (ISS 4–8) 6.0 times and serious injuries (ISS 9–15) 8.9 times higher in single accidents than in collisions. Fatal injuries are, however, more common in collision events (33 in comparison to 8). The vast majority of single accidents (99%) was due to falls. Many of the single accidents (29%) were caused by ground level differences (typically a curb) or due to surface conditions (19%). Collisions involved cars, trucks or buses in 91% of cases, occurring predominantly in car parks (31%) and on (zebra) crossings (30%). In 54% of cases the vehicles reversed into the rollator. Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) 3+ injuries were dominated by head (36%) and torso (33%) injuries in collision events, and hip fractures (71%) in single accidents. The present study shows that further research into rollator user related accidents, both single accidents and collision events, is required. In order to introduce appropriate measures, future work should follow up on accident and injury developments and further improve the quality of mobility aid related accident data in general. Improved stability and design, proper training programmes, effective maintenance services, development of a supporting infrastructure would contribute to increased safety for rollator users.
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