Prevention of Deaths from Motor Vehicle Crashes; US Has Much Room for Improvement

Modified: July 8, 2016 12:19pm

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 From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein

Date July 8, 2016                                

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

Prevention of Deaths from Motor Vehicle Crashes

United States Has Much Room for Improvement 

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States could drop by half with proven strategies—some as simple as using seat belts in both front and rear seats. 

About 90 people die each day from motor vehicle crashes in the United States, resulting in a high death rate. Our nation has made progress in road safety, reducing crash deaths by 31 percent from 2000 to 2013.

Compared to 10 other countries (see Figure 1), the US had the:Photo

•most motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 population;

•second highest percentage of deaths involving alcohol (31 percent); and

•third lowest front seat belt use (87 percent).

“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 5 – 34. Adult seat belt use is the single most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health (“ECDOH”). “Seeing that other high-income countries are doing better, we know we can do better too”. 

Here are tips from safety experts to keep both you and your passengers safe:

  • Use safety belts in both front and rear seats, no matter how short the trip
  • Make sure children are properly buckled in the back seat in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt (whichever is appropriate for their age, height, and weight
  • Never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs and encourage others to do the same
  • Obey speed limits
  • Eliminate distracted driving (cell phone use or texting
  • Graphic

Figure 1

“It is unacceptable for people to die on our roads, especially when we know what works to prevent crashes, injuries, and deaths,” Burstein continued. “Lives could be saved by increasing seat belt use and by eliminating alcohol-impaired driving.”

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For More Information:

CDC--Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention — United States and 19 Comparison Countries

CDC--Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety



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Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

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