The National Safety Council recently published a report showing the number of accidental deaths in Americans. Thus, it seems that more Americans die because of substance abuse than by car crashes.
More than 136,000 people were killed by accidents in 2014. The record number shows a 15.5% increase when compared with the reports from 10 years ago. The rise is triggered by opioid epidemic and heroin use, which spiked in the last years due to more and more life-threatening substances being available to the public.
Overdose and accidental poisoning are the leading causes of accidental deaths. 42,000 people died in 2014 due to substance abuse or misuse. The number represents for times more than the 1998 poisoning deaths.
In comparison, motor vehicle crashes killed 35,000 people, with 22% fewer than ten years ago and continuing to be on a decaying trend since the 1980s. The reasons for the decrease are improved car technology and tougher licensing requirements.
The officials say that the number of teenagers and young adults on the road is lower now than in 1981. However, not wearing seat belts, speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol remain persistent issues that lead to 10,000 fatalities each year.
Another problem on the rise is caused by distracted driving and inattentive pedestrians. Researchers do not know how many accidents were caused by this factor, as the issue is under-reported and the investigating officers cannot obtain accurate information on the distraction level.
Americans seem to have issues with falling too. In the last two decades, the number of deaths related to slipping and falling tripled. Almost 32,000 people died because of falling, a number close to that of substance abuse and crashes. The issue affects especially aged persons.
The official representatives state that every person should take measures to create a safer environment in order to avoid accidents. Respecting the driving rules, self-control, and self-management should be paramount for every citizen.
However, the government can also participate more in preventing accidents. The recommended actions refer to more responsible medicine prescriptions, reducing speed limits and enforcing laws on drunken driving and seat belt use.
The authors of the reports stress the fact that all accidents are preventable, and not in all cases the victim is at fault. Society and the government should take more measures in order to lower the risk of accidents and create a safer environment for everyone.
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