US leads the way in crash fatalities among high-income countries

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In the U.S., 90 people die every day in motor vehicle crashes, making America a world leader in vehicle crash fatalities when compared with 18 other high-income nations, according to new information released by the CDC.

In addition to having the highest motor vehicle crash death rate per 100,000 people, the U.S. also displayed the second highest percentage of crash deaths involving alcohol (31 percent) and the third lowest use of front seatbelts (87 percent) compared to its peers. Still, the U.S. saw a 31 percent reduction in road deaths from 2000 to 2013.

"It is important to compare us not to our past but to our potential. Seeing that other high-income countries are doing better, we know we can do better too," said Debra Houry, MD, director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "People of our nation deserve better and safer transport."

Analysts examined data compiled by the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Researchers suggested implementing strategies — such as requiring the use of ignition interlock devices for every individual convicted of alcohol-impaired driving, implementing enforcement seat belt laws that cover occupants seated in both front and rear seats and barring anyone under 16 from obtaining a driver's permit — to lower the nation's care crash death rate.

"It's unacceptable for 90 people to die on our roads each day, especially when we know what works to prevent crashes, injuries and deaths," said Erin Sauber-Schatz, PhD, transportation safety team lead of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "About 3,000 lives could be saved each year by increasing seat belt use to 100 percent, and up to 10,000 lives could be saved each year by eliminating alcohol-impaired driving."

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