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Driving characteristics of electric-powered wheelchair users: How far, fast, and often do people drive?

Cooper, RA and Thorman, T and Cooper, R and Dvorznak, MJ and Fitzgerald, SG and Ammer, W and Song-Feng, G and Boninger, ML (2002) Driving characteristics of electric-powered wheelchair users: How far, fast, and often do people drive? Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 83 (2). 250 - 255. ISSN 0003-9993

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Objectives: To determine the driving characteristics of electric-powered wheelchair users during unrestricted community activities and to compare the activity levels among an active group and a group of regular users. Design: Multisite engineering evaluation of electric-powered wheelchair driving activity during unrestricted community mobility. Setting: Data were collected in the communities of Pittsburgh, PA, and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) in San Antonio, TX. Participants: Seventeen people participated, all of whom used electric-powered wheelchairs as their primary means of mobility. Intervention: Each subject was asked standarized questions about self and wheelchair use. Data logger and sensor installed on wheelchair. Data downloaded from logger. Main Outcome Measures: Speed, distance traveled, and the time that each subject� personal wheelchair was being driven were recorded for 24hr/d over approximately 5 days for each subject by using a custom-built data logger. Results: The NVWG group traveled faster than the Pittsburgh group, but this difference was only statistically significant on the first day. The NVWG group was more likely to travel longer than the Pittsburgh group with significant differences seen in day 4 (P =. 03) and day 5 (P =. 05). Total distance traveled during the 5-day period and average distance traveled per day were also significantly different between the groups (P =. 02 for both 5-day distance and daily distance), with the NVWG group traveling longer (17, 164 ± 8708m) when compared with the Pittsburgh group (8335 ± 7074m) over the 5-day period. Both distance traveled and speed increased during afternoon and evening hours. The maximum distance traveled by any subject for each hour across the 2 groups was used to create the theoretic maximum distance day, which resulted in 7970m of driving. Conclusion: Drivers of electric-powered wheelchairs are most active during the afternoon and evening hours. Over the 5-day period of this study, there was little variation in the speed or distance driven per day. The subjects participating in the NVWG were more active than their counterparts during a typical week at home. The maximum theoretic distance that a wheelchair user in our group would travel is less than 8km. The range of current electric-powered wheelchairs appears adequate, if not generous, for the subjects in our study. © 2002 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation © 2001 Elsecier Science (USA).


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thorman, T
Cooper, Rcooperrm@pitt.eduCOOPERRM
Dvorznak, MJ
Fitzgerald, SG
Ammer, W
Song-Feng, G
Boninger, MLboninger@pitt.eduBONINGER
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 1 January 2002
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume: 83
Number: 2
Page Range: 250 - 255
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1053/apmr.2002.28020
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0003-9993
MeSH Headings: Activities of Daily Living; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Pennsylvania; Statistics, Nonparametric; Task Performance and Analysis; Texas; Wheelchairs--utilization
PubMed ID: 11833031
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 21:30
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2022 11:55


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