[Skip to Navigation]
August 14, 2018

Increasing Fatality Rates From Preventable Deaths in Teenagers and Young Adults

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2018;320(6):543-544. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.6566

Recent trends in preventable fatalities related to opioids, motor vehicle crashes, and firearms suggest that it is time to refocus public health efforts targeting injury prevention. Injury prevention, since the 1970s, has largely been a US success story.1 In recent decades, motor vehicle crash fatalities substantially decreased from 51 436 deaths (21.3 deaths per 100 000 individuals) in 1981 to 36 654 deaths (11.4/100 000 individuals) in 2012, despite increased road travel.2 The marked reduction in motor vehicle crash fatalities was due to numerous public health interventions, including the advent of safer cars with airbags and self-braking systems, improvements to the built environment and roadway engineering, the increasing use of seat belts and child safety seats, and legislation to regulate safer driving.1