CDC Reports Decline in Vehicle Crash Injuries
The CDC's recently released report on Non-Fatal Motor Vehicle Occupant Injuries in 2009 indicates that increased seatbelt usage has lead to a steady decline in adult injuries resulting from car crashes.
“Seat belt use is the most effective method to reduce the risk of injury or death and it protects drivers and passengers, reducing the risk being killed by about half,” says CDC Director Thomas Frieden, “In 2008 for the first time overall seat belt use reached a high of 85%, really making it the social norm in this country.”
Frieden went on to say that, “Every 14 seconds an adult in the U.S. Is treated in an emergency department for a motor vehicle crash-related injury, and this is costing us not only lives, but also money.”
The leading cause of death in the U.S. between ages 5 and 34 continues to be motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, 34,000 people of all ages died from vehicle crash injuries in the past year.
Although the rates of death and injury from vehicle crashes remain high, the 2009 report brings hope by showing that states with mandatory seatbelt usage laws have been able to decrease these numbers.
According to Frieden, the states who have achieved a 90% or better rate of seatbelt usage are: Oregon, California, Washington, Hawaii, New Jersey, Texas and Puerto Rico.
Other factors that Frieden sites may contribute to the decline of deaths and injuries include the safety of vehicle builds increasing and the amount people drive decreasing due to gas prices.
Frieden suggests that graduated drivers licenses also contribute to reducing vehicular death rates in the states that have implemented them.