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March 15, 1985

Preventing Traffic Fatalities

Author Affiliations

Centers for Disease Control Atlanta

JAMA. 1985;253(11):1559-1560. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350350053014

To the Editor.—  The article by Drs Ottosson and Krantz1 and the accompanying editorial by Dr Frey2 concerning traffic fatalities were very revealing. We were disappointed, however, in the narrow sense in which the term prevention was used."Preventable" traffic fatalities were not defined. As used in the article and editorial, the term preventable fatalities refers only to the secondary prevention of fatalities (ie, preventing death through the treatment of injuries that have already occurred). The article implies that only minimal benefit can be expected from further advances in secondary prevention in systems apparently as far advanced as Sweden's.Primary prevention of traffic fatalities (ie, preventing the initial injury), however, is feasible to perhaps a large degree through the use of passive restraints and other means. In their article, Ottosson and Krantz demonstrate the need for primary prevention measures if we are to reduce significantly the toll of