Accidental injuries claimed a record 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 the National Safety Council (NSC).
A total of 14,803 more people died accidentally in 2016 than in 2015 – a 10% year-over-year increase. The data – tracked annually by the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – also confirmed the number of motor vehicle fatalities. NSC analysis of the data shows motor vehicle deaths increased 6.8% to 40,327 in 2016, a 14% increase since 2014 and the largest two-year jump in 53 years.
“Our complacency results in 442 deaths each day,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, President and CEO, NSC. “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.”
Based on the analysis of the latest data, an American is accidentally injured every second and killed every three minutes by a preventable event, such as a drug overdose, a motor vehicle crash, a fall, a drowning, a choking incident or another preventable incident.