CDC says motor vehicle crashes remain leading cause of death in the United States

According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States lagged behind most other high-income countries in saving lives on U.S. roads, something the National Safety Council has known for years as estimates show nearly 43,000 people die in preventable crashes every year.

Here in North Dakota 2022 preliminary crash fatalities according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol have reached 33 as of June 26, 2022. Of these fatalities 65% were unbelted. During these summer months traffic is higher on our roadways, and people need to use increased caution.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States, and data from the new report indicate that held true in 2019. The report shows the United States had the highest population-based death rate (11.1 per 100,000 population) in 2019 and 2.3 times higher than the average rate for 28 other high-income countries (4.8 per 100,000 population). America had the 6th highest distance-based death rate (1.11 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled), 1.2 times higher than the average rate for 20 other high-income countries (0.92 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled). The U.S. also had the 4th highest vehicle-based death rate (1.21 per 10,000 registered vehicles) with the rate being 1.6 times higher than the average rate for 27 other high-income countries (0.78 per 10,000 registered vehicles).

“Here at the North Dakota Safety Council, our mission is to prevent injuries and save lives. We know that work needs to start on our roadways. Recognizing the risks of our roadways can save lives; we need to buckle up, limit the distractions and keep our speed down. Nothing is more important than getting home safely at the end of the day. We need to disrupt distracted driving, now.”

“These are difficult truths to swallow, and they reveal the depth of this public health crisis in one of the most developed countries in the world,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “And, these disparities have only grown since 2019. We are falling behind our international counterparts and losing lives in preventable crashes in the process. The report notes a lack of U.S. progress in reducing crash deaths, and this must serve as yet another call on all of us to do better and be safer on our roads so we can make it home to our loved ones each and every time.”

The report also details the U.S. could save more than 20,500 lives if we could do as well on roadway safety as other high-income countries included in the study. Implementing a Safe System approach to prioritize the safety of people is necessary, and NSC encourages all communities to learn more through Road to Zero resources. As a country, we have fallen behind, and we can and must do better to drive down these numbers, reduce crashes and save lives.

North Dakota Vision Zero Resources.

Information from the National Safety Council and ND Vision Zero