When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is headquartered right here in Georgia, releases a report about a "serious public health issue," most people immediately take notice. That's because our national public health institute is recognized throughout the world as the preeminent authority on epidemiological issues.
Interestingly enough, however, the "serious public health issue" identified in the aforementioned report has nothing to do with the spread or control of communicable diseases, but rather the staggering rate of fatal car accidents here in the U.S.
What did the CDC report find?
The CDC report, published in its monthly online publication Vital Signs, found that the U.S. has the highest number of fatal car accidents per year among 19 first-world nations, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan and Germany. Indeed, it found that in 2013 alone, over 32,000 people lost their lives on roads and highways here in the U.S., which equated to roughly 90 fatalities per day.
How exactly did the U.S. fare?
After examining comprehensive crash data gathered by the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2000 to 2013, the researchers found that the motor vehicle fatality rate has declined by 31 percent in the U.S. over the last 13 years.
While this seems impressive on its face, consider that the other 19 first-world nations saw their motor vehicle fatality rates fall by an average of 56 percent during this same timeframe.
The report also found that the U.S. came in first for crash deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles and crash deaths per 100,000 people, and second for percentage of motor vehicle fatalities involving alcohol. It also had the third lowest rate of front seat belt use.
Does the CDC offer any solutions to combating this "serious public health issue?"
While the researchers did come up with some recommendations for state and federal officials to make roads safer -- particularly in regard to drunk driving -- they also provided some noteworthy tips for motorists on how to protect themselves.
These include always wearing a seat belt, eliminating distractions, obeying the speed limit and practicing defensive driving.
Given that preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revealed that traffic deaths jumped by 7.7 percent in 2015, here's hoping we start to see some meaningful action on this issue.
If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your options.