Childhood Injury Prevention Interventions

Vehicle Modifications

Background

One possible method to decrease risk of pedestrian injuries is changes in car design. Although data have been evaluated to determine impact of car design on pedestrian injury severity, no data are child specific.

No new articles to include in the review, updated 2001.


Review of vehicle modification interventions:

Author

Elvik, 1993

Study design and target population

Before-after design.

Population of Norway, 1980-1990

Intervention

Mandatory daytime running lights, required April 1, 1988. All new cars manufactured after 1/1/85 were required to have automatic running lights.

Outcomes

Police-reported pedestrian injuries.

Ratio of daytime multi-vehicle vs. single vehicle collisions vs. night-time collisions.

Results

The odds of daytime vs. night-time pedestrian injuries did not change over the study period.

Study quality and conclusions

No evidence for an effect of daytime running lights.

Good, population based study with high (>90%) compliance with the law.



Author

Robertson, 1990

Study design and target population

Cohort study

Vehicles manufactured in US between 1980 and 1985.

Intervention

Smooth front ends of vehicles compared to sharp ends.

Outcomes

Pedestrian fatalities in US, 1982-1987.

Results

Risk of pedestrian fatalities in frontal collisions was 0.79 (0.67-0.95) for vehicles with smooth compared to sharp front ends. No significant effect on fatalities in non-frontal collisions.

Study quality and conclusions

Large population based study appears valid. Unfortunately, no age-specific data.


Author

Robertson, 1981

Study design and target population

236,000 vehicles in fatal crashes in US in 1975-78.

Intervention

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for vehicles manufactured in or after 1968.

Outcomes

Comparison of number of pedestrian fatalities per 100 million miles due to pre 1964 cars, 1964-1967 cars, and 1968-1977 cars.

Results

Federal regulations appeared to decrease pedestrian fatalities by 21%.

Study quality and conclusions

New safety standards decreased risk of pedestrian deaths.

No separate data for children.

Summary of vehicle modification studies

Modifications appear to reduce the risk of pedestrian fatalities. Both studies of vehicle modifications show that pedestrian fatalities were reduced by 21%. In contrast, mandatory or automatic daytime running lights appeared to have no effect.

Recommendations on vehicle modifications

The gain in reduction of pedestrian fatalities from vehicle modification appears to be as great as that from any other single intervention, and better than most educational programs. Further research into vehicle design changes to reduce the severity of pedestrian injuries, or decrease the risk of them occurring, should be conducted. For example, studies of use of mirrors or on-board video monitors to reduce the risk of back up injuries by trucks and vans appear warranted. Other changes to the front hood and A-pillars should also be examined. The height of the bumper and leading angle should be further evaluated.