Purpose: To explore rates of pedestrian fatalities in Arizona, and how rates and circumstances of pedestrian deaths differ by race/ethnicity, urban or rural residence, age, and gender.
Methods: Using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Center for Health Statistics' Multiple Cause of Death file, pedestrian fatalities in Arizona from 1990 through 1996 were classified by gender, race/ethnicity, and urban or rural residence. Age-adjusted rates were calculated and adjusted for the proportion of rural residence. Age analyses compared pedestrian fatality rates in 10-year age groups by race/ethnicity. Conditions associated with pedestrian deaths were examined, including the time and day of occurrence, alcohol involvement, and degree of pedestrian contribution to the crash.
Results: American Indians had rates of pedestrian deaths 6 to 13 times those of non-Hispanic whites. Elevated rates for American Indians were found in urban and rural areas, in both genders, in all age groups in men, and in five of nine age groups in women. American-Indian pedestrian death rates and relative risks (RRs) were higher in rural areas than in urban areas. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, urban Hispanic males had an elevated RR of 1.56, rural Hispanic females had an RR of 2.45, and urban African-American (AA) females had an RR of 2.33. However, significantly elevated rates, compared to non-Hispanic whites, were limited to Hispanic males aged <5 years and African-American females aged 65 to 74 years. In all race/ethnic groups, except rural Hispanics, men had higher rates than women, although American-Indian women had higher rates than non-Hispanic whites, African Americans, and Hispanic men. Rural residence accounted for 27% of the excess American-Indian pedestrian mortality. Sixty-one percent of urban, American-Indian pedestrian deaths occurred on weekends, compared to 29% among non-Hispanic whites and 46% among Hispanics. American Indians had six times the rate of alcohol-related pedestrian deaths as non-Hispanic whites in urban areas and 16 times that respective rate in rural areas. Hispanics had an alcohol- involvement RR of 1.82 in urban areas, but the RR was not elevated in rural areas. When blood alcohol was measured, the blood alcohol concentration was >0.20 g/dL in 64.4% of American Indians, 35% of Hispanics, and 29% of non-Hispanic whites.
Conclusion: A major disparity in pedestrian fatalities exists for both American-Indian men and women in urban and rural areas. Other racial/ethnic groups have elevated pedestrian fatality rates that are gender and residence specific, and are limited to specific age groups. Much of the American-Indian excess mortality is alcohol related and associated with residence in rural areas.