Accidental deaths have reached a record high in the United States, according to a new report by the National Safety Council. Accidental poisonings, vehicle crashes, and falls are now among the leading causes of accidental deaths.
The report found that in 2014, about 136,000 Americans died from an accidental incident. The new number is 4.2% higher than the year before, and over 15% higher than the percent of accidental deaths a decade ago.
For a long time, vehicle crashes were the number one cause of accident deaths. The new report found that accidental overdoses and poisonings increased more than 78% from a decade ago, moving them to the number one cause of accidental death. This might explain why accidental deaths have increased in the last decade despite car accidents falling by 22%. Over 60% of accidental poisonings occur in people under the age of 20.
In 2014, about 42,000 people died from accidental overdoses or poisonings, and about 13,486 of those deaths are attributed to opioid overdoses (sometimes in the form of painkillers like OxyContin). Vehicle crashes killed 35,398 people in 2014.
While the number of car crashes has decreased, statistics from 2015 show another increase in the number of accidents. Car safety features have continued to improve over the last decade, but many of the causes of death in car accidents have remained the same; things like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not wearing a seatbelt. Distracted driving might be a significant factor in the increase of accidents, but it is difficult for law enforcement to know when distracted driving is the cause of an accident.
The number of accidental deaths from falls has grown steadily over the last decade—from 10,000 in 1992 to 32,000 in 2014—a fact that the researchers attribute to an aging population in the states.
The states with the highest accidental death rates were West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Montana. The states with the lowest rates were Maryland, California, and New York.
Accidental injuries are currently the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease, cancer, and lower respiratory diseases. For people age 1 to 42, accidental deaths are the number one cause of death.
Ken Kolosh, the statistics manager at the National Safety Council, said “It’s all preventable. Every accident is preventable…But it’s not necessarily the [fault] of the victim.”
To read the report click here.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Call the NH Personal injury attorneys at Tenn And Tenn at (603) 624-3700 today for a free consultation.