Review of the road safety of disabled children and adults (TRL559)

  • Published: Transport Research Laboratory, 2002
  • Authors: K. Williams, T. Savill and A. Wheeler
  • Date Added: 14 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 25 Oct 2016
  • Format: html


A review of the available information on road safety of children and adults with disabilities.


Literature search, web search and discussions with professionals working for charities, local authorities and universities. Focus on prevalence of types of special need, road RTI risk and development of remedial measures.

Key Findings:

  • Data on prevalence of various disabilities, their RTI involvement and exposure are largely unavailable so concludes that it is difficult to quantify the extent of risk of RTI involvement.

  • Road safety education measures for disabled people are mostly for those with learning difficulties – the types of training found to be most appropriate are discussed. Training resources for wheelchair users also identified. The resources that exist for disabled children and adults have not generally been evaluated or made widely available. Refers to mobility and independence training course by Northamptonshire for adults including those in wheelchairs. Found no schemes for disabled people not in wheelchairs.

  • Engineering measures for disabled people focus on the pedestrian environment. Shropshire planning to improve provision for disabled cyclists.

  • Concludes that there are insufficient data to identify policy priorities. Quantifying risk would be a major task. Seems reasonable to conclude that some disabled people are at increased risk in the pedestrian environment (no comment on driving risk).

  • Recommends guidance on road safety education for disabled people should be issued.


Disabled adult, disabled children, RTI risk, safety, education.


This wide ranging review highlights how most research has been carried out with a focus on disabled pedestrians rather than as drivers. Emphasises consequent difficulty in ascertaining road safety risk for the disabled population.