Preventing Crash-Related Deaths in America

A recent study revealed that more children, teenagers and young adults die in motor vehicle accidents than from any other cause, costing approximately $41 billion in lost work and medical expenses every year. Ten states carry almost half of that cost, with Florida, California and Texas topping the list. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which complied the data, views these deaths as a serious public health issue.

The other seven states with the highest costs arising from accidents are Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Illinois, according to the CDC's analysis of crash statistics.

What the Records Show

More than 30,000 people die in traffic accidents every year making motor vehicle crashes the primary cause of death for those between the ages of 5 and 34. Most states have some traffic safety measures in place, but more can still be done. In 2009, the number of adults treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes exceeded 2.3 million.

Preventing Crash-Related Deaths

The study also provided state-by-state recommendations for the prevention of crash-related deaths, including mandatory child-safety car seats that are age-appropriate, more stringent seat belt regulations and graduated driver's license programs. In addition, the CDC recommends both a limit to the number of underage passengers that may ride with a teen driver and a curfew for young drivers.

The CDC would also like to see primary seat belt laws enacted in all 50 states. These laws permit police to stop and ticket individuals who are not buckled up, even if no other traffic violation has been committed. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that 31 states currently have primary seat belt laws, with New Hampshire being the only state that does not have a seat belt law in place that applies to adults.