US has highest car crash fatality rate
Every day, about 90 people die from car accidents in the US, according to a newly released government report. And while this number has gone down significantly in past years, it is by far the highest fatality rate among countries with similar incomes and populations.
The new study, released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that while reducing motor vehicle crash deaths was “one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century for the US,” still more than 32,000 people are killed and two million are injured each year from these crashes. The CDC also found that over 18,000 lives could be saved each year, if US crash fatalities were the same as the average crash rates of 19 other comparable income countries.
The CDC says major risk factors that contributed to crash deaths include:
- Not using seat belts, car seats and booster seats: more than 9,500 crash deaths
- Drunk driving: more than 10,000 crash deaths
- Speeding: more than 9,500 crash deaths
“While I’ve noticed a decrease in the number of motor vehicle accidents, I’ve also seen an increase in the number of motorbike accidents,” says Dr. John Piotrowski, medical director of the emergency department and chairman of emergency medicine at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.
He says another major risk factor is “distracted and multitasking drivers, who are prevalent in younger generations. There have been many accidents that are the result of teens trying to text, send selfies or Snapchat while driving.”
Direct medical costs that resulted from crash deaths in one year totaled more than $380 million, according to the CDC.
However, there are ways to prevent these accidents and deaths. The CDC advises the folllowing in order to prevent accidents:
- Use a seat belt, in every seat, on every trip, no matter how short the distance being driven
- Make sure children are always properly buckled in the back seat in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, whichever is appropriate for their age, height and weight
- Choose not to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and help others do the same
- Obey speed limits
- Drive without distractions, such as using a cell phone or texting
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