Objective: Pedestrian crashes present a growing challenge for public health trauma and road safety researchers around the world. They are associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and cost, yet there is an international lack of published work on the topic, especially when compared with vehicle occupant safety studies. Our review attempts to quantify the risk of fatal injury among vulnerable road users. The specific objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to quantify and compare the impact of light truck vehicles (LTVs) versus conventional cars on pedestrian fatal injury.
Methods: A protocol was developed using methods of the Cochrane Collaboration. We conducted a search for the studies in bibliographic databases that included ATI (Australian Transport Index); Cochrane Injuries Group Specialized Register; EMBASE; ERIC; MEDLINE; National Research Register; PsycINFO; Road Res (ARRB); SIGLE; Science (and Social Science) Citation Index; TRANSPORT (NTIS, TRIS, TRANSDOC, IRRD). Web sites of traffic and road accident research bodies, government agencies, and injury prevention organizations were searched for grey literature. Reference lists from selected papers or topic reviews were scanned for potentially relevant papers.
Results: Our initial search identified 878 potentially eligible studies. After thorough review by three of the researchers a total of 12 studies were included in the systematic review, 11 of which were included in the meta-analysis. The overall pooled odds ratio for the risk of fatal injury in pedestrian collisions with LTVs compared to conventional cars was odds ratio 1.54, 95 percent confidence interval 1.15-1.93, p = 0.001. Thus, the risk for pedestrians of sustaining fatal injury is 50 percent greater in collisions with LTVs than in collisions with conventional cars.
Conclusions: Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that LTVs pose a greater risk of pedestrian injury death compared to conventional cars. These findings have important implications for the automotive industry and the safety of vulnerable road users.