Epidemiology of Subway-Related Fatalities in New York City, 1990-2003 (vol 39, pg 583, 2008)

Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
Journal of Safety Research (Impact Factor: 1.29). 02/2008; 39(6):583-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2008.10.004
Source: PubMed


Subway transit is a relatively safe mode of transportation, yet compared to all other forms of mass transit in the United States (U.S.), subways have the highest fatality rate. The aim of this paper is to characterize subway-related fatalities in order to identify opportunities for risk reduction.
Medical examiner records for all New York City (NYC) subway-related deaths (1990-2003) were reviewed. Data were abstracted on decedents' demographics and autopsy findings, including laboratory findings.
There were 668 subway-related fatalities, of these, 10 (1.5%) were homicides, 343 (51.3%) were determined to be suicides, and 315 (47.2%) were accidental. Although decedent characteristics varied between fatality categories, they were not particularly informative with regard to prevention.
Prevention strategies that focus on structural controls are likely to be most efficacious in improving the overall safety of the NYC subway systems.
These findings suggest that structural rather than individual-level interventions would be most successful in preventing subway fatalities.

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    • "Railway suicide accounts for 1 to 12% of all suicides globally, with up to 94% of all attempts being fatal [1]. International studies show that over half of all rail-related fatalities are suicides [2-4]. The direct adverse impacts of railway suicide for the victim can include death and significant physical disability. "
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    ABSTRACT: Railway suicide has significant adverse impacts for the victims, their family and friends, witnesses to the incident, general public and train network. There is no previous review on the socio-environmental factors and railway suicide. The research question asked in this review was: 'What socio-environmental risk and protective predictors are significantly associated with railway suicide?' METHODS: The review searched Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science and Scopus for English-language studies that assessed the associations between socio-environmental (i.e. geographical, physical, economic and social) factors and railway suicide from their inception to June 2013. It was reported based on the PRISMA Statement. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. They were categorised into railway environments (availability of railways and trains, accessibility to railways and familiarity with trains), population characteristics and impact of media reporting. Findings from ecological studies using population level railway suicide data suggested weak and inconsistent evidence for the first two categories. The evidence on the impact of media reporting was moderately strong, with irresponsible media reporting being associated with an increased risk of railway suicide. There is a need for further research activity to strengthen evidence about socio-environmental risk factors for railway suicide. The focus of this research should be on the factors that determine individuals' decisions of using the railway as a method of suicide, with the consideration of a range of geographical, physical, social, and economic factors.
    BMC Public Health 01/2014; 14(1):20. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-20 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Safety Research 01/2009; 40(1):75. DOI:10.1016/j.jsr.2009.01.001 · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Suicidal behavior on the subway often involves young people and has a considerable impact on public life, but little is known about factors associated with suicides and suicide attempts in specific subway stations. Between 1979 and 2009, 185 suicides and 107 suicide attempts occurred on the subway in Vienna, Austria. Station-specific suicide and suicide attempt rates (defined as the frequency of suicidal incidents per time period) were modeled as the outcome variables in bivariate and multivariate Poisson regression models. Structural station characteristics (presence of a surveillance unit, train types used, and construction on street level versus other construction), contextual station characteristics (neighborhood to historical sites, size of the catchment area, and in operation during time period of extensive media reporting on subway suicides), and passenger-based characteristics (number of passengers getting on the trains per day, use as meeting point by drug users, and socioeconomic status of the population in the catchment area) were used as the explanatory variables. In the multivariate analyses, subway suicides increased when stations were served by the faster train type. Subway suicide attempts increased with the daily number of passengers getting on the trains and with the stations' use as meeting points by drug users. The findings indicate that there are some differences between subway suicides and suicide attempts. Completed suicides seem to vary most with train type used. Suicide attempts seem to depend mostly on passenger-based characteristics, specifically on the station's crowdedness and on its use as meeting point by drug users. Suicide-preventive interventions should concentrate on crowded stations and on stations frequented by risk groups.
    Journal of Urban Health 02/2012; 89(2):339-53. DOI:10.1007/s11524-011-9656-4 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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