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AUTOMOTIVE / SAFETY

ACCC Raises Safety Concerns On Mobility Scooters

By Marie Jones | Thursday | 24/03/2011

People who use motorised scooters as a means of increasing their mobility within the community are at increased risk of injury and accident, according to a new report on the use of mobility scooters.

The ACCC has raised concerns over the dangers of using motorised mobility scooters, with the report highlighting a total of 442 hospitalisations of people using them between July 2006 - 2008.

Researchers at Monash University, said injuries would also have been a lot higher if other accidents, such as collisions were also included, according to the ACCC.

"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."

The researchers claim that increasing use of the devices could see hospitalisations grow by around 250 percent over the next 10 years alone if safety standards are not addressed.

The ACCC has begun working with stakeholders, including representatives from the mobility scooter industry, health, injury prevention and aged care organisations, as well as other government agencies, to develop strategies that would reduce the number of deaths and injuries related to mobility scooters.

The report highlighted the many complex issues associated with motorised mobility devices and older people, and developing a volutary standard has also been proposed by Standards Australia  to cover issues such as appropriate safety requirements for scooters and effective safety warnings.

The 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.

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