About CDC's Injury Center
Violence and Injuries Affect Everyone
It is likely that you or someone you know has been touched by violence or injury: A neighborhood child killed in a car crash. A friend who committed suicide. An older relative who fell and suffered a brain injury.
Injuries and violence affect everyone, regardless of age, race, or economic status. In the first half of life, more Americans die from violence and injuries — such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, or homicides — than from any other cause, including cancer, HIV, or the flu.
And, deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. Each year, millions of people are injured and survive. Many are faced with life-long mental, physical, and financial problems.
Prevention Saves Lives
Injuries and violence are so common that we often accept them as just part of life. But they can be prevented, and their consequences reduced. We know prevention works. For example:
- Seat belts have saved an estimated 255,000 lives between 1975 and 2008.1
- School-based programs to prevent violence have been shown to cut violent behavior 29% among high school students and 15% across all grade levels.2
- Ignition interlocks, or in-car breathalyzers, can reduce the rate of re-arrest among drivers convicted of driving while intoxicated by a median of 67%.3
- Tai chi and other exercise programs for older adults have been shown to reduce falls by as much as half among participants.4
In the United States
Nearly 192,900 people die from violence and injuries each year–nearly 1 person every 3 minutes.5
More than 3 million people are hospitalized and 27 million people treated in emergency rooms as a result of violence and injuries each year.5
Violence and injuries cost more than $671 billion in medical care and lost productivity each year.6
Putting Science into Action
For more than 20 years, CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (the Injury Center) has helped protect Americans from injuries and violence. We are the nation’s leading authority on injury and violence. We study violence and injuries and research the best ways to prevent them, applying science and creating real-world solutions to keep people safe, healthy, and productive.
Our mission is to prevent injuries and violence through science and action.
Our vision is everyone, everywhere, every day – safe and free from injuries and violence.
Here is how we are putting our scientific expertise into action:
Identifying and monitoring the problem
The Injury Center develops and uses cutting-edge data systems to track injuries and deaths by age, race, and a host of other factors. These powerful tools ensure that prevention initiatives are guided by the best available science and research. By studying patterns in data, we can better understand the nature and scope of an injury or violence problem, measure how well prevention efforts are working, and identify emerging issues. Through the National Violent Death Reporting System, for instance, the Center gathers, shares, and links comprehensive state data on violent deaths.
Conducting research to guide decision making
The Injury Center conducts and funds a wide range of research that provides vital knowledge about what works in violence and injury prevention. This knowledge informs decision making about programs and policies to reduce violence and injuries, facilitating wise investments of prevention resources. For example, Injury Center research showed that state 0.08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration) laws effectively reduced alcohol-related traffic deaths.7 This finding served as a foundation for tying federal highway funds to 0.08% BAC laws.
Empowering states through funding and technical assistance
The Injury Center provides critical funding and technical assistance to states through its many programs. One example, the Core Violence and Injury Prevention Program, strengthens states’ capacity to collect and use data to better understand the local injury environment and challenges, plan injury prevention and control efforts, and carry out and evaluate potentially life-saving interventions for their residents.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts: Occupant Protection. 2008 Data. Pub. No. DOT HS 811 160. Available from: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811160.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The effectiveness of universal school-based programs for the prevention of violent and aggressive behavior: A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR Recommendations and Reports 2007; 56(RR-7).
- Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing alcohol-impaired driving: ignition interlocks. [cited 2010 Oct 1]. Available at URL: www.thecommunityguide.org/mvoi/AID/ignitioninterlocks.html
- CDC. Stevens JA. A CDC Compendium of Effective Fall Interventions: What Works for Community-Dwelling Older Adults. 2nd ed. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2010.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online] (2011) [accessed 2014 Jul 11]. Available from URL: www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/.
- Florence C, Simon T, Haegerich T, et al. Estimated Lifetime Medical and Work Loss Costs of Fatal Injury, United States 2013. MMWR 2015;64(38).
Florence C, Haegerich T, Simon T, et al. Estimated Lifetime Medical and Work Loss Costs of Emergency Department Treated Nonfatal Injuries, United States 2013. MMWR 2015;64(38).
- NHTSA. .08 BAC Illegal per se Level. Traffic Safety Facts: Laws. March 2004;2(1).