Is This a Winnable Battle?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that the leading cause of fatal injuries in the U.S. is motor vehicle accidents. The truth is that these accidents are preventable and it is all of us and you who is responsible for this. That is why we decided to devote a separate article for this topic.
For the most part, the number and rate of motor vehicle crash deaths have fallen since 2005. However, the number of deaths is threatening. For example, in 2015 it has been 35,092 people. Thousands of lives can be saved by continued implementation of proven strategies. This will also have a direct impact on the medical costs of millions of dollars for motor vehicle crash injuries and deaths each year.
- Motor vehicle crashes are a major cause of death in the first three decades of Americans’ lives.
- Motor vehicle crashes killed over 35,000 people in 2015. That is about 96 people every day.
- Motor vehicle-related injuries send more than 2.3 million people to hospital emergency departments every year.
Motor vehicle-related deaths decreased between 2007 – 2015
Trends in motor vehicle-related fatalities, 2007 – 201
Motor Vehicle Accidents and Fatal Injuries – Is This a Winnable Battle?
Considerations in support of “the winnable battle” thesis
- Motor vehicle crash deaths cost the nation 44 billions of dollars in medical expenses and work loss costs in just a year.
- The proven effectiveness of primary seat belt laws created a real opportunity for near-term success in lowering motor vehicle-related deaths.
- Other evidence-based strategies, such as graduated driver’s license (GDL) programs and ignition interlocks, created additional opportunities for improved motor vehicle safety.
Challenges / Obstacles in front of “the winnable battle”
- Linking data for motor vehicle crashes from various sources (police, EMS, emergency departments, hospitals, medical examiners) can be really complex. Anyway, data linkage is necessary to share critical information about what happened before, during, and after a crash. The provided complete picture informs prevention efforts.
Key Strategies for “The Winnable Battle”
The Centers for Disease Control articulated a clear set of evidence-based policies and practices to reduce motor vehicle injuries and deaths.
Prevention of crash-related deaths by increasing restraint use and decreasing impaired driving
- CDC released an online calculator, called the MV PICCS (Motor Vehicle Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator for States). It is designed to calculate, at the state level, the expected number of prevented injuries and saved lives, as well as the costs of implementation.
- CDC Vital Signs has featured transportation safety seven times since 2011. Recent issues include safety of child-passengers and looking at fatalities in the context of other high-income countries.
Proved strategies for reducing injuries and saving lives are highlighted by CDC’s State-Specific Fact Sheets on Cost of Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths, Restraint Use, and Drunk Driving To support efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road, CDC issued “Increasing Alcohol Ignition Interlock Use: Successful Practices for States
- To raise awareness and promote prevention of teen driving-related injuries and deaths, CDC launched Parents are The Key . That is a campaign that providing information and tools for parents, pediatricians, and communities about safe teen driving.
Improvement of motor vehicle safety in occupational settings
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatal injuries in the United States.
- Employer and worker information on motor vehicle safety was prepared and broadly disseminated among:
- truckers – on the importance of wearing a seatbelt and obtaining quality sleep to prevent drowsy driving;
- employers – on the steps they can take to develop effective motor vehicle safety programs;
- workers and employees – on safe driving at work by older workers.
- A national consensus standard is used by employers to develop safe workplace driving programs. It includes stronger language on employer policies on seat belt use, fatigue management, and speed control.
Improvement of motor vehicle safety, decrease of crashes and reduction of motor vehicle-related fatal injuries among tribal populations
- Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of unintentional injury for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) at the ages 1 to 44. AI / AN adults are 1.5 times more likely to die in a crash than whites or blacks.
- Through direct funding of 12 tribes, the Tribal Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention Program, released by CDC, decreased crashes, increased restraint use, and decreased alcohol-impaired driving. Its reach was expanded to a greater number of tribes by partnering with the Federal Highway Administration.