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Preventable (Accidental) Deaths at Record High

The National Security Council (NSC) reported that preventable deaths are at a record high. They also point out that pubic awareness is lagging. A recent survey by the NSC documents the fact that many of us are unaware of some of the greatest risks to our lives. In fact, less than half of Americans (49%) believe we can eliminate most or all “accidental” deaths.Preventable Deaths at Record High - Altizer Law PC

The Numbers

  • In 2017, preventable injuries caused 169,936 deaths. The majority of these deaths did not occur in workplaces. These deaths are occurring in our homes and communities.
  • Preventable deaths now account for 466 lives every day in the U.S.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of unintentional, preventable injuries (accidents) rose 5.3% between 2016 and 2017.
  • Preventable deaths in a single year reached the highest level ever recorded in U.S. history: 169,936 in 2017.
  • Preventable injury was the only category of the three leading causes of death in the U.S. to increase. One reason for many of these deaths is attributed to the opioid crisis.
  • One American dies approximately every 3 minutes due to drug overdose, motor vehicle crash, a fall, drowning, choking, or another preventable

Top Preventable Injuries

The report from the CDC included a list of the top 10 causes of preventable deaths. The chart below offers the event, the number of these events that occurred in 2017 and the percent change from the previous year.

Preventable Accident Number of Deaths in 2017 Percent change from 2016
1.       Poisoning (including drug overdose) 64,795 +11.1%
2.       Motor vehicle 40,231 -0.2%
3.       Falls 36,338 +4.8%
4.       Suffocation by ingestion, inhalation 5,216 +8%
5.       Drowning 3,709 -2%
6.       Fires, flames, smoke 2,812 tur+3%
7.       Mechanical suffocation 1,730 -2.9%
8.       Natural heat, cold 1,269 +6.7%
9.       Struck by, against 806 +2%
10.   Machinery 572 -6.2%


CDC statistics show that life expectancy in the U.S. declined in 2017. This marks the third consecutive year in which the life expectancy remained static or declined.

Are These Deaths Preventable?

The NSC insists that there is no such thing as an accident. The Council says that Americans know what to do to save lives. As a nation, however, we have not consistently prioritized safety at work, at home and on the road.

The NSC lists the following home safety concerns as preventable:

  • Opioids (more than 100 deaths per day).
  • Other poisons (more than 90% of poisonings occur at home).
  • Choking and Suffocation
  • Older Adult Falls
  • Lack of emergency preparedness
  • Concussions (a child is treated for a sports-related concussion every 3 minutes)
  • Child Safety (both in motor vehicles and in the home: sports, medicines, button batteries, windows and window treatments, backpacks)
  • Distracted Walking

Whether all of these accidental deaths can be prevented is debatable. There is clearly much that can be done in most homes and communities to prevent many of these incidents. From time to time, we will offer insights that can help you keep yourself and your family safe.

Call Altizer Law, P.C.

If you or a loved one is injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, and through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for your hurts and harms. At Altizer Law, P.C., in Roanoke, VA, you will be met with the compassion and the fierce tenacity in legal action that has made us a top personal injury firm. Bettina Altizer and her expert team listen carefully, represent clients aggressively, and fight when necessary to obtain for you the highest possible financial compensation allowed under Virginia law. We understand that in these cases it’s about the money.