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Male Pedestrians at Higher Risk of Death from Vehicle Collision

Update Date: Dec 12, 2012 07:09 AM EST

If you are a man, you should be more careful on the roads, as a new research says male pedestrians struck by vehicles are more than twice as likely to die as their female counterparts. In the United States, pedestrians make up 12 percent of deaths from traffic collisions, according to Medical Xpress.

The research was conducted by lead author of the study Motao Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor at the West Virginia University School of Public Health and Injury Control Research Center and a group of scientists analyzing the U.S. travel and traffic data from the years 2008 and 2009. Previously conducted studies have shown a higher number of pedestrian fatalities among men, but no study before had considered other associated factors.

"Our analysis differed from previous studies as it was the first to examine three main relative contributors to pedestrian death," Dr. Zhu said.

"We looked at the amount of daily walking exposure each gender reported, the male and female risk of being involved in a collision while walking and the fatality rates per collision case. No existing research had been this thorough."

In the current study, children below five years of age were excluded.

Men and women reportedly walk almost the same distance on an average every day. Police-reported crash data shows that males are at a slightly greater risk of being involved in a vehicle-pedestrian collision when compared to women, and also have a higher chance of death in such accidents.

More research needs to be conducted in order to understand why exactly male pedestrians are at a higher risk of death from vehicle collisions. According to Zhu, researchers already have a good idea of why fatalities are far more common among male pedestrians than females.

"Of course, we already know that a vehicle's speed affects the severity of a person's injuries. Alcohol involvement can also play a large role, and not just with drivers. While most people know not to drive while drunk, it's not safe to walk the streets while impaired, either," Zhu said.

"Next, we will look at other factors that make males more likely to suffer fatal collisions. Are they taking more risks, such as crossing or walking along highways or other higher speed roads? There are many other factors to consider."

Zhu further notes that in areas with lower speed limits, there are more chances of survival of the pedestrians in some high-risk pedestrian areas. Furthermore, Zhu says that infrastructural improvements such as sidewalks can also help reduce these numbers, along with increased usage of public transportation.

The study appears on the website of Injury Prevention, an international peer-reviewed journal. 

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