Car Accident Deaths Surpassed by Drug Overdoses

hand of a person laying on the floor holding a syringe with red fluid and surrounded by white pills

Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities a Remain Significant Problem alongside Opioid Deaths

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of serious personal injury and death among people of all ages. According to car accident statistics, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 0 and 19. Traffic collisions contribute to tens of thousands of injuries and fatalities among adults across the country each year. Car accident deaths are a serious problem, and are largely preventable.  Yet a recent report from CNN Health indicates that the average person’s risk of death in a motor vehicle collision has been surpassed by risk of death from an opioid overdose.

According to the report on opioid statistics, “for the first time on record the odds of accidentally dying from an opioid overdose in the United States are now greater than those of dying in an automobile accident.” Furthermore, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), “the lifetime odds of death for this form of overdose [are] greater than the risk of death from falls, pedestrian incidents, drowning, and fire.” Studies have shown linkage between the increase in a population’s opioid addictions with physicians over-prescribing pain relieving drugs, according to a blog.

These findings on opioid statistics should not lead Americans to think that car accident deaths and injuries are no longer a problem, or that rates of pedestrian accidents and deadly falls have been curbed significantly. Instead, this information should alert Americans to two facts: Far too many people sustain debilitating and fatal injuries in avoidable accidents, and even more people are dying as a result of preventable drug overdoses. To put that information in more quantitative terms, the NSC reports that “the lifetime odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are 1 in 96,” while the odds of being killed in a motor vehicle crash are 1 in 103. The chances of dying in an accidental fall are 1 in 114.

In 2017, the NSC identified 169,936 preventable injury deaths. That figure encompasses opioid, car accident statistics, and more, and represents a 5.3% increase from 2016, and a 96% increase from 1992. In 2018, “unintentional injury was found to be the leading cause of death in the US, with more than 61 people aged 1 to 44 dying from this cause in 2016.”

Car Accident Statistics and Risks

Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death in the US and in various parts of the world. The following are some facts and figures about car accident deaths and statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • 1.35 million people sustain fatal injuries in car accidents every year;
  • Approximately 50% of traffic collisions involve “vulnerable road users,” which includes pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists;
  • Traffic collisions remain the leading cause of death across the world for children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 29;
  • Anywhere from 20 million to 50 million people suffer non-fatal but debilitating injuries in motor vehicle crashes each year; and
  • Speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol are the leading causes of car accident deaths and crashes, with distracted driving newly playing a significant role.

If you or someone you love was injured in a car crash, you should speak with a car accident lawyer about your options.

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