According to the CDC, the leading cause of death of people between the ages of 1 and 44 is unintentional injury. In fact, unintentional injuries are responsible for more deaths than some of the most devastating diseases and illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. We often take steps to avoid getting sick and developing these kinds of threatening health conditions. However, when it comes to avoiding simple accidents and injuries, we don’t seem to be doing enough.
Unintentional injuries can, in many cases, be avoided. How? Simply understanding why, where, and when unintentional injuries are most likely to happen is a great first step. Taking certain precautions and using care in our everyday lives can reduce unintentional accidents, injuries, and deaths.
Car Accidents a Leading Cause of Unintentional Injury
Driving is one of the most popular ways to travel. In a busy city such as Los Angeles, drivers log an average of 45.5 million miles every day. Unfortunately, congested roads aren’t particularly safe. The CDC reports that car accidents are responsible for more than 2 million injuries and 32,000 deaths every year.
Studies show that many of these unintentional injuries and deaths are avoidable. Practicing safe driving habits, paying attention, and following the rules of the road can significantly decrease the number of unintentional injuries and deaths related to car accidents every year.
Drunk Driving: According to the CDC, drunk driving is a leading cause of fatal car accidents in the United States. In 2016, 28 percent of all car accident deaths involved a drunk or impaired driver. The number of unintentional deaths attributed to car accidents could decrease significantly if drivers didn’t get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Studies show that taking alternative modes of transportation – including Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services – has helped to reduce drunk driving across the city of Los Angeles.
Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a broad term that covers a lot of different behaviors. It can include any behavior that prevents you from giving your full and undivided attention to the road when you’re behind the wheel. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, playing with the radio, and chatting with passengers are all forms of distracted driving. When you’re distracted, you’re more likely to be involved in a car accident. In 2015, more than 3,400 people were killed and 391,000 were injured because of a distracted driver. Unintentional injuries caused by car accidents could be reduced if drivers committed to paying attention. Putting the phone away and concentrating on vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians around you will make your trip much safer.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt: Seat belts are required by law in California and across the country. Wearing a seat belt is believed to reduce the risk of death in an accident by a staggering 45 percent. However, studies show that not everyone buckles up when they get into a car. In fact, nearly half of all victims in fatal car accidents were not wearing a seat belt at the time of impact. Wearing a seatbelt can reduce unintentional injuries and save lives. If you’re riding in a car with children, be sure to lead by example. Kids are 20 percent more likely to wear a seat belt if they see you wearing one, too.
Not Using Car Seats Properly: California law requires kids to be secured in car safety seats throughout childhood. The position (rear facing vs. forward facing) and type (full seat vs. booster seat) depend of seat on the child’s age, weight, and/or height. These safety measures are imposed to keep the youngest passengers safe. Children are more likely to be injured or killed in an accident when these seats aren’t installed properly or they’re not secured in the seat correctly. Unintentional injury and death of young children can be significantly reduced by complying with state car seat laws and buckling children in properly.
Other Leading Causes of Unintentional Injury in Los Angeles
Car accidents aren’t the only cause of unintentional injury and death. Other leading causes of unintentional injury include:
- Fires and burns
- Accidental discharge of a firearm
- Bicycle accidents, and
- Pedestrian accidents.
Knowing that these are leading causes of accidents, unintentional injury, and death can help to keep you safe. You can reduce the risk of an unintentional injury by using care and caution in your everyday life. Drownings, poisonings, and falls often happen away from your own home. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings, particularly when you’re on another person’s property. You can’t always control your surroundings, but you do have the power to control your own behaviors and actions. Being mindful of this can help to keep you and your family safe.
Have you been injured in a Los Angeles accident? You may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We’ll review your case and help you understand your legal options.