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Itasca, Ill. – Today the National Safety Council released its annual list of states with the lowest and highest rates of unintentional, preventable deaths, which include poisonings – largely from drug overdoses – car crashes and falls. California has the lowest rate of preventable death – 35.0 per 100,000 residents – while West Virginia has the highest, at 104.2 deaths per every 100,000 residents. Both rates are far below and above the national average, which is 52.2 per every 100,000 U.S. residents.
NSC unveiled the state mortality analysis on Injury Facts – the definitive resource for data around unintentional, preventable injuries at work, on the road and in homes and communities.
Poisoning is the leading cause of preventable death in all 10 states with the highest mortality rates, and in five of the states with the lowest rates – a reminder of the national impact of the drug crisis. For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than a motor vehicle crash.
“Someone dies every three minutes in the United States because of something we know how to prevent,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Understanding the leading causes of preventable death in your state allows you to advocate for better policies and protections, so all residents can lead their best, fullest lives.”
Preventable injuries – what most people consider “accidents” – are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and they are the primary focus of National Safety Month, observed each June. As the month ends, the Council is urging states to examine prevention strategies and reprioritize accordingly, particularly because preventable deaths tend to be higher in the second half of each year than the first.
States with the lowest preventable death rates per 100,000 population (leading cause of preventable death):
States with the highest preventable death rates per 100,000 population (leading cause of preventable death):
Various factors contribute to a state’s preventable death rate, including demographics and population density.
NSC urges states to address drug overdose by following six key actions outlined in the Council’s 2018 Prescription Nationreport:
NSC urges states to address motor vehicle crashes by following the blueprint outlined in the 2018 Road to Zero report:
For more about the leading causes of unintentional injury death, visit injuryfacts.nsc.org.
About the National Safety Council The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.
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