The Association of Light Trucks and Vans with Pediatric Pedestrian Deaths

DiMaggio, Charles J.; Durkin, Maureen; Richardson, Lynne D.

We investigated the hypothesis that relative to cars, light trucks and vans (including sports utility vehicles) are more likely to result in fatal pediatric pedestrian injury. It was further hypothesized that this increased risk is a result of head injuries. The study sample consisted of 18,117 police records of motor vehicles involved in crashes in which one or more pedestrian aged 5 to 19 years old was injured or killed. Frequencies and case fatality ratios for each vehicle body type were calculated. We conducted a logistic regression analysis with light truck or van versus car as the exposure variable and fatal / non-fatal pedestrian injury as the outcome variable. After controlling for driver age, driver gender, vehicle weight, road surface condition and presence of head injury, 5 to 19 year-olds struck by light trucks or vans were more than twice as likely to die than those struck by cars (OR = 2.3 95% CI 1.4, 3.9). For the 5 to 9 year-old age group, light trucks and vans were four times as likely to be associated with fatal injury (OR = 4.2 95 % CI 1.9, 9.5). There was an association between head injury and light trucks and vans (OR=1.2, 95% CI 1.1, 1.3). We conclude that vehicle body type characteristics play an important role in pediatric pedestrian injury severity and may offer engineering-based opportunities for injury control.


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July 14, 2010


International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, vol. 13, no. 2 (June 2006), pp. 95-99.