Motor vehicle accidents account for one of the most serious public health problems causing death and injury each year. More than 32,000 people die each year in the United States – about 90 fatalities every day – and two million people are injured in nonfatal car accidents every year. The statistics come from a 2016 report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These figures rank the highest among 19 other high-income countries. Among them, the United States reported the second highest percentage of motor vehicle crash deaths involving alcohol-impaired driving (31 percent); and among 15 countries, the U.S. had the eighth highest percentage of crash deaths that involved speeding (29 percent). The United States ranked 18th out of 20 for front seat use, and 13th out of 18 for rear seat use, among countries in which information on national seat belt use was available.
Motor vehicle deaths and injuries are preventable and even predictable, according to the CDC. Practice safe driving habits, such as always buckle seat belts on all passengers – especially children – no matter how short the distance. Avoid alcohol and drug use and distractions while driving, such as texting and other cell phone use.
A car accident can devastate a life and family in different ways. It can require urgent medical care, rehabilitation, personal and vehicle expenses, even legal fees, which can all add stress and deepen the trauma. Time away from work can mean lost income. Be aware of unexpected, out-of-pocket medical expenses that can follow treatment, surgery, and rehabilitation. Disability and dismemberment coverage can be highly restrictive, for example, citing pre-existing conditions with specific exclusionary terms. If you or someone you know is struggling to pay living, medical, or legal expenses following a motor vehicle accident, find out about free crowdfunding to get through a difficult period.