The findings of a study conducted by a team of researchers from the Georgetown University show that car crashes are more dangerous for wheelchair users. The purpose of the research was to find out how often wheelchair users are killed in car accidents.
Collecting data and findings of the study
For the study, researchers used data from reports of car crashes in which people died as well as information from the Traffic Safety Administration. Analyzing the data led to a number of estimated deaths produced by car accidents among wheelchair users.
Benton and Kramer, the researchers conducting the study claim that about 528 wheelchair users died in car crashes in the U.S. from 2006 to 2012. Another finding was that most of the accidents that happened in these six years took place in intersections. Moreover, it seems that men are five times more likely to have a fatal car accident than women.
What’s behind the accidents?
One of the issues that cause these fatal accidents is the pedestrian infrastructure. For people with mobility problems, especially for the ones using wheelchairs it’s very difficult to get from one place to another. And the streets make it even more difficult as they are not designed well enough in order to help pedestrians in wheelchairs. Moreover, the infrastructure should be in accordance with the Act of Americans with Disabilities.
Therefore, it seems like although society should be helping people with disabilities, it’s actually incapacitating them even more by not offering them good conditions in case they need to travel or simply cross the street. Most accidents involving pedestrian wheelchair users happen outside towns with people who need to travel from one place to another.
How to prevent car crashes
Now, if you are one of the persons using a wheelchair, don’t feel like you have to stay at home or not cross the street anymore. What you can do in order to make sure you’ll be safer is for example wearing reflective clothing. One of the reasons drivers bump into wheelchair users is that they don’t see them. On the other hand, drivers are advised to pay more attention and take into consideration that pedestrian wheelchair users are also participating in the road traffic.
Moreover, if you can you could try to invest in a power wheelchair rather than a manual one. The manual wheelchair slows you down, while the power one will help you to move faster and also allow you to have a faster reaction if a car approaches.
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