Idaho and Montana ranked among the worst states with the highest ratios of injury deaths while Washington state was ranked among the best. A new report ranks each state by their injury rates per 100,000 people and offers evidence-based strategies that states can adopt for injury prevention. Injuries, including those caused by accidents and violence, are the third leading cause of death nationally, and they are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of one and 44.
"There are proven, evidence-based strategies that can spare millions of Americans from injuries each year," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. "This report focuses on specific, scientifically supported steps we can take to make it easier for Americans to keep themselves and their families safer."
The Facts Hurt report, released by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), concludes that millions of injuries could be prevented each year if more states adopted additional research-based injury prevention policies, and if programs were fully implemented and enforced.
Some key findings include:
- 29 states do not require bicycle helmets for all children;
- 17 states do not require that children ride in a car seat or booster seat to at least the age of eight;
- 31 states do not require helmets for all motorcycle riders;
- 34 states and Washington, D.C. do not require mandatory ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers;
- 18 states do not have primary seat belt laws;
- 44 states scored a "B" or lower on a teen dating violence law review by the Break the Cycle organization; and
- 13 states do not have strong youth sport concussion safety laws.
Approximately 50 million Americans are medically treated for injuries each year, and more than 2.8 million are hospitalized. Nearly 12,000 children and teens die from injuries resulting from accidents each year and around 9.2 million are treated in emergency rooms. Every year, injuries generate $406 billion in lifetime costs for medical care and lost productivity.
"Seat belts, helmets, drunk driving laws and a range of other strong prevention policies and initiatives are reducing injury rates around the country," said Amber Williams, Executive Director of the Safe States Alliance. "However, we could dramatically bring down rates of injuries from motor vehicles, assaults, falls, fires and a range of other risks even more if more states adopted, enforced and implemented proven policies. Lack of national capacity and funding are major barriers to states adopting these and other policies."
For state-by-state scores and injury death rankings – Read more…
Source: Trust for America’s Health, News Release – May 22, 2012 New Mexico Has Highest Rate of Injury Deaths in the US