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Why Are Wheelchair Users More Likely to Die in Pedestrian Accidents?

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Wheelchair users are more likely to die in pedestrian accidents than people walking by foot are, according to studies of U.S. crash data.

According to Reuters, pedestrians in wheelchairs are 36 percent more likely to die in accidents compared to those traveling by foot. Of those pedestrians in wheelchairs, men are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than women are.

“The data don’t show why wheelchair users may be more vulnerable than other pedestrians. But the findings suggest that city planners should consider ways to make sidewalks safer and drivers should be aware that people in wheelchairs may not move or react in the same way as others do,” Reuters reported.

The study was conducted by researchers with the Department of Health Systems Administration at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. According to researchers, nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed and another 76,000 are injured on roadways each year.

From 2006 to 2012, approximately 528 pedestrians using wheelchairs were killed in accidents, occurring at a rate more than a third higher than that of the general population.

One researcher told Reuters that it is possible that pedestrian accidents involving wheelchair users are higher because drivers may be less likely to see them and brake, because wheelchairs sit lower to the ground. Additionally, he noted that people in wheelchairs may also have pre-existing medical conditions.

He said that drivers need to pay attention to pedestrians when they are around intersections and avoid distractions like texting, and obey posted speed limits and signs.

Additionally, in some parts of the country, intersections are poorly designed for people with disabilities, who may be using wheelchairs, which can contribute to accidents, as people have to move out of pathways and onto roads to commute.


Our Nashville injury attorney hopes that more research is performed about this subject. It is unacceptable when crosswalks are poorly designed or drivers do not pay attention, leading to pedestrian accidents.

Many pedestrian accidents are avoidable. If you have been hurt or your loved one has been killed in a pedestrian accident, it may be in your best interest to speak to an attorney about conducting an investigation into the incident, so that you can hold a negligent party liable.

In addition to representing Nashville pedestrian accident victims, our attorney has worked with clients in Brentwood, Nolensville, Kingston Springs, Mount Juliet and Thompson’s Station.

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22


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