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Road accident involvement of children from ethnic minorities

Thomson, James and Tolmie, A. (2001) Road accident involvement of children from ethnic minorities. Road Safety Research Report, 19. ISSN 1468-9138

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Recent surveys in the UK have raised the suggestion that children from some ethnic minority backgrounds may suffer a disproportionately high pedestrian accident rate relative to majority culture peers. However, these studies were undertaken on a relatively small scale and it is not clear how general the findings are. Moreover, it is no easy matter to disentangle the influence of specifically ethnic factors from a range of co-varying social and economic indicators, all of which are well-known risk factors in the majority culture. It is possible that the effect of ethnic background is fully absorbed by these factors. Alternatively, it may be that these factors operate differently in different ethnic groups, or that other factors come into play to create additional risk for ethnic minority children. This report reviews the national and international literatures on the accident involvement of ethnic minority children relative to their majority culture peers. The review shows that, in almost all countries where data are available, children of ethnic minority background do suffer substantially increased risk of pedestrian injury relative to the norms for the country as a whole. The trend is truly international and applies to countries as diverse as the United States, Sweden, Israel, Singapore and New Zealand. In the UK, children of Asian ethnic origin appear to be disproportionately vulnerable. It should be stressed, however, that no data were available on the accident involvement of children from other minority groups. It cannot therefore be said that other minority groups in the UK are unaffected.