; Fisher, D.A.
; and Tippetts, A.S.
In Supplement to Alcoholism. Clinical and Experimental Research. 2000 Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism. June 24-29, 2000—Denver, CO
pgs. 114A , (2000)The purpose of this study was to examine differences in alcohol's contribution to pedestrian and pedal cyclist fatalities as a function of victim age, gender, ethnicity, and urban vs. rural residence.
The study involved analyses of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which contains detailed information about fatal crashes in the U.S. Data on killed pedestrians and pedal cyclists from 1990-1996 FARS that were matched with death certificate information to obtain race and ethnicity were used. To provide a reasonable basis for comparing the relative involvement of alcohol in fatalities across groups, the percentage of fatally injured pedestrians and cyclists that were alcohol-related per group (expressed as an odds-ratio) was used rather than the absolute number. Using this percentage as a normalizing variable helps minimize the influence of exposure to motor vehicles and other socioeconomic factors that are likely to vary across groups.
Analyses of pedestrian and pedal cyclist blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels indicate that the involvement of alcohol in fatalities varied significantly depending on age group, gender, and ethnic group. For example, when males were fatally injured, the pedestrian or pedal cyclist was generally two to three times as likely to have been drinking than to have been an innocent victim (i.e., to have been BAC negative while the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash was BAC positive). The pattern for females, however, was more variable. Females in several groups were more likely to be innocent victims than to have been BAC positive; for ethnic groups in which a larger proportion of female victims were drinking than innocent victims, the differentials were not as large as for males.
Alcohol involvement in pedestrian and pedal cyclist fatalities is moderated by a number of demographic factors. The relationships among these factors are important to specify in order to address the problem of pedestrian- and pedal cyclist-motor vehicle fatalities.