The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – you know it as the CDC, the agency that (in the spirit of Halloween) would ostensibly try to control an apocalyptic zombie outbreak – has published comprehensive information this month on motor vehicle crash injuries in the US. (Since we’ve referenced zombies, it makes sense here to point out that Halloween tends to be a riskier time for pedestrians, especially children roaming the streets.)
The CDC characterizes car crash injuries as “costly but preventable.” Not every crash is preventable, neither every injury, but it’s certainly true that risky driving – speeding, texting, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – is likely the root cause of the overwhelming majority of crashes.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the CDC Vital Signs page:
- We collectively spend over a million days in the hospital every year from crash-related injuries in the US
- Crash-related injuries cost us a staggering $18 billion in medical costs over our lifetimes (looking at just 2012 data)
- An estimated $33 billion in costs associated with time off work or careers otherwise ruined because of crash-related injuries
How can we prevent motor vehicle crash injuries (according to the CDC)?
The CDC recommends a number of ways in which to reduce crashes and the serious injuries associated with them. These include using car seats for younger children and wearing seat belts, reducing drinking and driving, and expanding/improving the effectiveness of teen driver education programs.
Tips for Halloween safety
Tonight is Halloween night. Kids will be running door to door, through yards and across streets. One suggestion for reducing the risk of an accident tonight is to coach your children on how to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. For teens, who will generally be out on their own with their friends, it pays to put down the smart phone and remain aware of your surroundings.