For the first time in US history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than a motor vehicle crash.

The National Safety Council has released its annual list of states with the lowest and highest rates of unintentional, preventable deaths, which include poisonings – largely from drug overdoses – car crashes and falls.

“Someone dies every three minutes in the United States because of something we know how to prevent,” said Lorraine M. Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council.

“Understanding the leading causes of preventable death in your state allows you to advocate for better policies and protections, so all residents can lead their best, fullest lives.”

NSC urges states to address motor vehicle crashes by following the blueprint outlined in the 2018 Road to Zero report:

  • Strengthen existing laws that counter persistent roadway killers, such as alcohol, speeding and distraction
  • Advance life-saving technology, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that help mitigate human errors and incorporate technology into infrastructure
  • Prioritize safety by adopting a safe systems approach and creating a positive safety culture. This can be done in part through infrastructure design that engineers common hazards out of the driving environment.

For more about the leading causes of unintentional injury death, visit