Mobility scooter injuries examined in ACCC report
New research into injury data found a total of 442 hospitalisations related to motorised mobility scooter fall injuries during the two years from July 2006 and June 2008.
The report, commissioned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, from the Monash University Department of Forensic Medicine and Monash University Accident and Research Centre, indicates that the number of hospitalisations would be higher if other accidents, such as collisions, were also included.
"Motorised mobility scooters are an increasingly viable option for older people to maintain independence and engagement with the community and provide physical, social and health benefits," ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell said.
"However, there are important safety concerns that the ACCC, in conjunction with other agencies, are working to address.
"According to the Monash research, increasing use may see hospitalisations related to mobility scooter accidents grow by around 250 per cent over the next ten years in Victoria alone," Mr Kell said.
The report also highlighted the many complex issues associated with motorised mobility devices and older people.
"The ACCC has already started working in partnership with stakeholders to develop and implement strategies for a united approach to minimise deaths and injuries related to mobility scooters," Mr Kell said.
These stakeholders include representatives from the mobility scooter industry, health, injury prevention and aged care organisations, and other government agencies.
Work that is being undertaken includes gathering further data about mobility scooter use including making contact with people who have been involved in a mobility scooter accident, and developing standardised information to be provided to consumers who are purchasing or using these devices.
"The ACCC is also working with Standards Australia on a possible voluntary standard covering issues such as appropriate safety requirements for scooters and effective safety warnings," Mr Kell said.
This latest injury data follows earlier research into the number of deaths of mobility scooter users which found since the 1980s at least 62 people, mostly men in their 80s, have died from head injuries after their mobility scooter collided with another vehicle.
The mobility scooter injury data research report is available at www.productsafety.gov.au .
The ACCC’s Help cut mobility scooter accidents booklet provides safety tips and outlines key things to consider when buying and using mobility scooters. It is available online via www.productsafety.gov.au or in hardcopy free of charge from the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.
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24 March 2011.