The Alarming Statistics…
Taken from: Child pedestrian safety: ‘driveway deaths’ and ‘low-speed vehicle run-overs’, Australia, 2001–10.
Australian Government, Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics
Key findings for pedestrians aged 0–14 years in motor vehicle accidents in Australia during the ten-year period 2001–10 are as follows. The full report can be downloaded here.
- 66 pedestrians aged 0–14 years were killed in the ten-year period 2001–10 and 483 seriously injured in the eight-year period 2002–03 to 2009–10 (serious injury data were available for this period only) due to being hit by a four-wheeled motor vehicle moving around a home.
- On average, seven pedestrians aged 0–14 were killed each year (of the ten years) and 60 seriously injured each year (in the eight-year period) due to being hit by a four-wheeled motor vehicle moving around a home.
- 60 pedestrians aged 0–4 and six aged 5–14 were killed in the ten years 2001–10 due to being hit by a four-wheeled motor vehicle moving around a home.
- In the eight years 2002–03 to 2009–10, pedestrians aged 0–4 years accounted for 70 per cent of the pedestrians aged 0–14 years who were seriously injured around the home due to being hit by a four-wheeled motor vehicle.
- A further 293 pedestrians aged 0–14 years were seriously injured around the home due to being hit by some other road vehicle (for example, motorcycle, three-wheeled vehicle or pedal cycle).
- Factors in motor vehicle accidents around the home include people and vehicle factors, as well as features of home designs which create risks for children by exposing them to the movements of vehicles. Some researchers have suggested that people feel more relaxed and safe in the home environment and perhaps let their guard down.
- Rearward visibility has been observed to be limited in many vehicles and this has been described as a major factor. There have been suggestions in relation to home designs that unfenced driveways and doors between houses and garages allow children to move suddenly into the path of vehicles unbeknown to the driver. Long driveways also possibly encourage excessive vehicle speeds on entering and exiting the home, according to some studies.
What we know….
- In all locations beyond the home, traffic and non-traffic, 204 pedestrians aged 0–14 years were killed in the ten-year period 2001–10 and 4 440 seriously injured in the eight-year period 2002–03 to 2009–10 in a range of motor vehicle accident types, including instances of low-speed vehicle run-over.
- Relatively few (13 in the ten years 2001–10) were killed on public roads in speed zones of 40 km/hr or less.
- Over half (58 per cent, 118 cases out of 204) of deaths beyond the home were on public roads in speed zones of 50 or 60 km/hr.This is where vehicles perform all kinds of low-speed manoeuvres: entering or leaving driveways, entering or leaving parking spaces, turning corners, picking up, setting down and so on. However, vehicle movement descriptors for traffic deaths indicate that relatively few vehicles were performing such manoeuvres at the time of collision with the child. Most vehicles were moving in a forward direction on a road when they hit the child.
- Over 14 per cent (29 cases out of 204) of deaths beyond the home were in non-traffic locations.These locations include car parks (parking lots) and roads in places such as schools, universities, hospitals, prisons, factory premises, military camps and so on where vehicle access is often restricted to specified members of the public and where we would expect vehicles to be travelling at relatively low speeds and performing low-speed manoeuvres.
- The prevalence of low-speed vehicle run-overs relative to other circumstances that characterise fatal collisions with pedestrians often can be ascertained from study of coroners’ records and police reports, for both traffic and non-traffic deaths.