Unintentional, preventable injuries – commonly known as “accidents” – claimed a record high 161,374 lives in 2016 to become the third leading cause of death in the United States for the first time in recorded history, according to National Safety Council data analysis.
Based on this new data, an American is accidentally injured every second and killed every three minutes by a preventable event – a drug overdose, a motor vehicle crash, a fall, a drowning, a choking incident or another preventable incident.
“Our complacency results in 442 deaths each day,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “For years our country has accepted unintentional injuries as an unavoidable reality. The truth is, there is no such thing as an accident. Every single one of these deaths was preventable. We know what to do to save lives, but collectively we have failed to prioritize safety at work, at home and on the road.”
Assessing your family’s risk
NSC encourages Americans to perform an annual safety checkup to assess risk.
The free Safety Checkup tool generates a safety profile based on factors such as age, gender and state of residence.
Preventing avoidable injury
The National Safety Council has launched various initiatives to educate Americans about how they can reduce their own risks. Recent efforts and resources include:
- The Stop Everyday Killers campaign puts a face on the opioid epidemic through film, digital assets and a traveling memorial exhibit, which stops in Pittsburgh on January 29. Visit stopeverydaykillers.org for more information.
- The Road to Zero coalition – a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Transportation – is working to end all roadway fatalities by 2050. Visit nsc.org/roadtozero for more.
- The State of Safety report provides a roadmap for states to better protect residents. According to the report, no state receives an “A” – and 11 states are failing. Visit nsc.org/stateofsafety for more.
Additional resources, safety tips, programs and other information are available at nsc.org.