Pedestrian injuries are an important component of motor vehicle injuries, especially for children. We examined the association between pedestrian collisions and the social environment using data from a large suburban county in southern California.
Method Pedestrian collisions were identified from the California State-wide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) (2000–2004). A Geographic Information System was used to map the location of pedestrian collisions and this was overlaid onto demographic and social characteristic data from the US Census (2000).
Results 4209 collisions were identified in 5 years of data. Exactly 4000 (95%) of these were geocoded to a specific location and mapped. The census tracts with the highest quartile of poverty had four times as many pedestrian collisions (relative to population) as the census tracts with the lowest quartile of poverty, and nine times as many pedestrian collisions involving children age 0–12 years (relative to their population). Other social variables, including education among adults and percent of adults who spoke another language at home and spoke English less than very well, were related to the frequency of pedestrian collisions. Population density was related to the frequency of pedestrian collisions only among children. None of these variables explained the association of poverty with the frequency of pedestrian injuries.
Conclusion There is a substantial disparity in pedestrian injury risk by poverty in this county.
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