Crashes Aren't Accidents
The vast majority of all fatal and non-fatal injuries in America, including traffic injuries, are not acts of fate but are predictable and preventable. Injuries are a major health care problem and are the leading cause of death for people age 1 to 42. Fatalities, however, are only a small part of the total injury picture. For each injury-related death, there are 19 hospitalizations for injury and another 300 injuries that require medical attention. Every year, one in four Americans will have a potentially preventable injury serious enough to require medical care. These injuries account for almost 10 percent of all physician office visits and 38 percent of all hospital emergency department visits. Injury patterns vary by age group, gender, and cultural group. There are also seasonal and geographic patterns to injury. Injuries pose a significant drain on the health care system, incurring huge treatment, acute care, and rehabilitation costs.
Each year, traffic crashes in the United States claim about 41,000 lives and cost Americans $150 billion in economic costs, including $17 billion in medical and emergency expenses, lost productivity, and property loss. Traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury deaths and the leading cause of all deaths for people ages 6 to 27. They also are the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities and the third leading cause of death for all Americans; only cancer and heart attacks claim more American lives. However, far more people are injured and survive motor vehicle crashes than die in these crashes. In 1995, for example, while almost 41,800 persons were killed in traffic crashes, over 3.4 million injuries were documented in police-reported crashes.
Traffic crashes aren't "accidents." They are both predictable and preventable. The quickest, easiest, and most effective way to prevent traffic injuries and fatalities is to make certain that every vehicle occupant is properly buckled up on every trip.