TABLE 2.1 Leading Causes of Injury Death, Trends, 1985–1995

Cause of Death

Number of Deaths (all age groups), 1995

Trends, 1985–1995

Motor vehicle traffic

42,452

Decrease 15% from 1985 to 1993, increase 2% from 1993 to 1995

Firearm

35,957

Increase 22% from 1985 to 1993, decrease 11% from 1993 to 1995

Poisoning

16,307

Stable from 1985 to 1991 at about 5/100,000, in crease 18% from 1991 to 1995

Falls

11,275

Decrease 11% from 1985 to 1995

Suffocation

10,376

Stable from 1985 to 1995 at about 3/100,000

 

SOURCE: Fingerhut and Warner (1997).

Trends in Injury Mortality Rates: 1985 to 1996

Although the leading causes of injury death have not changed over the past decade, some trends are important to note; these are described in detail by Fingerhut and Warner (1997) and illustrated in Figure 2.4 and Table 2.1. The age-adjusted unintentional injury death rate declined 12 percent between 1985 and 1995, whereas the suicide rate remained relatively constant, and the overall homicide rate increased 12 percent. The increase in the homicide rate has not been steady; there was a 32 percent increase between 1985 and 1991, followed by a decrease of 15 percent from 1991 to 1995.

Age-adjusted motor vehicle traffic-related death rates declined 15 percent from 1985 to 1993, but increased 2 percent from 1993 to 1995. 3 In 1995, 18,428 persons 15 to 34 years of age died of a motor vehicle traffic injury, comprising 43 percent of all motor vehicle traffic injury deaths. The death rate in this age group declined about 18 percent from 1985 to 1993, to about 24 per 100,000 individuals (Fingerhut and Warner, 1997). From 1985 to 1995, the alcohol-related fatality rate for those 15–34 declined 32 percent, and the nonalcohol

3

In 1995, Congress repealed the national maximum Speed limit (effective December 8, 1995). Subsequently, 32 states also repealed their 55 mile per hour speed limits. Estimates suggest that these two actions have resulted in hundreds of additional deaths, but the full effect of the repeals has not yet been quantified (NHTSA, 1998).



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement