Preventable Deaths On The Rise In U.S., States Not Doing Enough: Report
A new report released by national safety advocates indicates more than 140,000 people are killed each year as a result of preventable accidents, warning that the majority of states are not putting enough effort into law implementation and enforcement that could save many of those lives.
The National Safety Council (NSC) released a new report (PDF) last week, indicating the national death count increased more than seven percent in 2015, totaling about 146,000 deaths caused by preventable accidents, such as distracted vehicle crashes and opioid overdoses.
“We cannot afford to sit back while we lose more than 140,000 people because of issues we know how to prevent,” NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman said in a press release. “This report provides states with a blueprint for saving lives, and we hope lawmakers, civic leaders, public health professionals and safety advocates heed the recommendations outlined within it to make states and communities measurably safer.”
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The NSC study involved nearly a years’ worth of research, collecting fatality data from each state across the U.S.
Researchers from the nonprofit organization collected and reviewed the fatality data from each state and analyzed the causes of death and the effectiveness of the local safety laws to determine whether sufficient regulation or oversight to prevent the fatality was in place, and then assigned a letter-grade to each state.
According to the findings, no state received an overall “A” rating for safety after analyzing the fatality data. The report indicates that only eight states received even a “B” grade, with 17 states graded with a “C”, 15 states received a “D”, and the remaining 11 received an “F”.
Maryland and Illinois, which were the states receiving the highest overall scores of 69 (MD), and 68 (IL), but still had high numbers of fatal auto accidents, according to the report. Despite the population comparison to fatalities, researchers scored the states with a “B”, due to the increased efforts by state officials to curb speeding, using increased enforcement efforts.
Southern and Great Plains states fared the worst, with Arkansas Arizona Idaho Kansas Mississippi Missouri Montana Oklahoma South Carolina South Dakota Wyoming, all receiving “F” grades in the report.
The NSC is calling for state officials to pass stricter laws on speeding and distracted driving, requiring mandatory penalties for violators who are intentionally and neglectfully putting others’ lives in jeopardy by using their smartphone or other electronic handheld devices while driving.
Researchers indicate that more than 80,000 people combined were killed in 2015, solely as a result of either vehicle crashes or opioid abuse. The rising death toll from opioid abuse has been recognized as a growing concern over the last several years, with nearly one out of every four people on Medicaid in the U.S. receiving some sort of powerful and addictive opioid pain medicine since 2015.
“The United States consumes 80% of the world’s opioids, but accounts for less than 5% of the world’s population,” the report indicates. “Prescriber education and guidelines, patient education, overdose prevention efforts, and access to treatment as well as programs like Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are some of the ways this deadly epidemic can be reversed.”
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