Saving Lives and Protecting People:
Preventing Motor Vehicle-related Injuries
In the United States...
Every 15 minutes, someone dies in a motor vehicle crash on U.S. roads.1
Motor vehicle crashes kill more people ages 5 to 34 than any other cause of death.4
Every day, eight teens die in a crash.4
In one year alone, motor vehicle crashes cost Americans $99 billion in medical care, rehabilitation, and lost wages.5
Every day, thousands of Americans are involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in injury or death: A teen driver killed just months after getting his license. An older driver disabled in a crash. A father injured while driving intoxicated.
The toll of motor vehicle crashes is staggering. In 2010:
- Nearly 33,000 people in the United States died in a motor vehicle crash.1
- More than 10,000 people died at the hands of alcohol-impaired drivers.2
- Nearly 2.6 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments after being in a motor vehicle crash.3
Putting Science into Action to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes
For more than 20 years, CDC’s Injury Center has helped protect Americans from violence and injury threats. We are the nation’s leading authority on violence and injury. We study violence and injuries and research the best ways to prevent them, applying science for real-world solutions to keep people safe, healthy, and productive.
If every state had a strong graduated driver licensing policy, we could reduce the number of 16-year-olds involved in fatal crashes by 20%.5
If all adult drivers in the U.S. had a blood alcohol concentration less than the illegal threshold (0.08%), 7,000 lives would have been saved in 2010.6
In 2010, seat belts and child safety seats saved nearly 13,000 lives.7
Our Strategies & Partnerships
Preventing motor vehicle-related injuries is one of the Injury Center’s focus areas. Here are just a few of the innovative strategies and strong partnerships we use to keep people safe on the road:
Monitoring the Problem to Inform Prevention
The Injury Center uses in-depth data systems to document and monitor the burden of motor vehicle crashes on the nation, to identify research priorities, and to inform the creation of effective, science-based prevention policies and programs.
Increasing Seat Belt Use
- The Injury Center has created several tools that raise awareness about the effectiveness of seat belt policies. States use these tools in their efforts to strengthen policies to address this critical injury prevention issue:
- The Vital Signs: Adult Seat Belt Use package highlights the importance of seat belt use. The Injury Center uses these materials to engage states, employers, health care professionals, and consumers in actions to increase the use of seat belts.
- Policy Impact: Seat Belts describes the scientific evidence for effective, well-enforced primary seat belt policies and outlines strategies to strengthen seat belt policies that save lives.
Keeping Teens Safe on the Road
- The Injury Center translates science into practice through communications initiatives and publications that highlight the importance of parental monitoring and strong graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems:
- The Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Driving communications campaign tool kit gives parents, pediatricians, and community groups vital information and resources to help keep teens safe on the road.
- Policy Impact: Teen Driver Safety describes the leading causes of teen motor vehicle crashes and details important components of GDL systems.
- The Graduated Drivers License Planning Guide is a tool the Injury Center is pilot testing. The Guide helps states that want to strengthen their GDL systems to assess their capacity for doing so.
Reducing Drinking and DrivingThe Injury Center supports state efforts to keep drivers sober and safe by raising awareness about alcohol-impaired driving and identifying strong policies to prevent it.
- Vital Signs: Drinking and Driving provides the latest findings on drinking and driving and issues a call to action for states, employers, health care professionals, and the public to help prevent this health threat.
- Policy Impact: Alcohol-impaired Driving details the magnitude of impaired driving and outlines proven policies that keep alcohol-impaired drivers off the road.
Improving Road Safety for Native Americans
Building on recent successes in improving motor vehicle safety in tribal areas, the Injury Center is funding eight American Indian/Native American Tribes to design, implement, and evaluate tailored, culturally appropriate road safety interventions in their communities. Results will be used to develop a best practices manual for U.S. tribal communities.
Collaborating with Global Partners
- The Injury Center works with several Latin American countries to strengthen their traffic injury data systems. For example, we provide technical assistance on data analysis and dissemination in Peru. The methods and first results of their improved surveillance system have been published and are available as a model for other countries.
- The Injury Center supports surveillance and evaluation activities for the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative, a campaign in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to increase motorcycle helmet use.
- The Injury Center collaborates with the United Nations and the World Health Organization to focus worldwide attention on road safety. This partnership encourages other countries to strengthen their efforts to reduce motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths.
CDC Works 24/7 to Save Lives and Protect People
CDC’s Injury Center is committed to saving lives, protecting people, and lowering the health and societal costs of motor vehicle-related injuries. Our goal is to offer individuals, communities, and states timely, accurate information and useful tools and resources to keep people safe on the road. Take action today by learning more about ways you can protect yourself and others from motor vehicle-related injuries!
- About the Injury Center
- Saving Lives and Protecting People from Injuries and Violence
- Injury Center Focus Areas
- U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts: 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2012. [accessed 2012 June 6]. Available from: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811552.pdf.
- U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts: Alcohol-impaired Driving. Table 1. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2012. [accessed 2012 June 6]. Available from: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811606.pdf.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall MV-occupant nonfatal injuries, treated and released, 2010 United States, all races, both sexes, all ages. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA [accessed 2012 Aug 9]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA [updated 2011 Feb 24; accessed 2011 Nov 1]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars.
- Naumann RB, Dellinger AM, Zaloshnja E, Lawrence BA, Miller TR. Incidence and total lifetime costs of motor vehicle-related fatal and nonfatal injury by road user type, United States, 2005. Traffic Inj Prev 2010;11:353-60. Also see Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Vital Signs. Adult Seat Belt Use in the US: Latest Findings. [updated 2011 Jan 4; accessed 2011 Nov 10]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/SeatBeltUse/LatestFindings.html.
- Chen L-H, Baker SP, Li G. Graduated driver licensing programs and fatal crashes of 16-year-old drivers: A national evaluation. Pediatrics 2006;118:56-62.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute. Fatality Facts 2010: Alcohol. [accessed 2012 June 6]. Available from: http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality.aspx?topicName=Alcohol&year=2010.
- U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts: 2010 Data. Occupant Protection. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2012. [accessed 2012 June 6]. Available from: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811619.pdf.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Activities: Global Road Safety. [updated 2010 Aug 31; accessed 2011 Nov 23]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/global/research.html.
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