Preventable Deaths Reach an All-Time High

June 8, 2016
Every four minutes, someone in the United States dies from an injury.

The number of Americans dying from preventable injuries has reached an all-time high, according to analysis from the National Safety Council.

Preventable injuries, commonly known as “accidents,” claimed 136,053 lives in 2014 – a 57 percent increase since 1992, when deaths from preventable injuries were as low as they had been in 68 years. Preventable injuries are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease.

The data, released at the start of June’s National Safety Month, have prompted the National Safety Council to issue a commitment to all Americans to eliminate preventable death in our lifetime.

“Losing someone every four minutes to an injury we know how to prevent is unacceptable,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "Eliminating preventable deaths is a lofty goal, but not impossible. We can be successful one company, one family and one life at a time. If we all work together to reduce harm, we will make our world a measurably safer place."

Preventable injuries are a constant threat at every age. To help Americans understand the biggest risks to their safety, the National Safety Council has created the Safety Checkup tool which generates a safety profile based on factors such as age, gender and state of residence.

Throughout our lifetime, the leading causes of preventable death are:

  • Younger than 1: Suffocation
  • Ages 1 to 4: Drowning
  • Ages 5 to 24: Motor vehicle crashes
  • Ages 25-64: Poisonings, largely from drug overdoses and prescription opioids
  • Ages 65+: Falls

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