Pedestrian Automobile Accidents

When elderly patients are struck by automobiles, devastating injuries may result. The 65 and older age group accounts for 22 percent of pedestrian-automobile fatalities in the United States.1 Elderly pedestrians struck by a motor vehicle are much more likely to die compared with younger pedestrians.7 Postural changes due to musculoskeletal decline may lead to kyphosis, which results in difficulty in lifting the head to see and obey traffic signals. Traffic signals, which operate at a crossing rate of 4 ft/s, may not account for the elderly's slower walking speeds.1 Thus elderly individuals may not have enough time to safely cross an intersection. Reduced peripheral vision and decreased hearing may limit access to information needed to make rational decisions about crossing the street. Again, cognitive, memory, and judgment skills may be diminished and could play a role in pedestrians being struck by automobiles.

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