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December 20, 1947


JAMA. 1947;135(16):1075. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890160033011

Accidents, as recently emphasized by Press,1 are fourth in the list of causes of death in the United States. Ninety per cent of accidents are preventable, and four fifths of accidents involving children are due to acts of omission or commission by adults. Endogenous personality factors exist that predispose some persons toward accidents; emotional disturbances such as worry, grief, anxiety and anger cause preoccupation that interferes with alertness and tends to reduce reaction time. Both children and adults use accidents as a means of attracting attention and gaining sympathy.

Accident-prone situations are usually much more readily identified than accident-prone persons. Therefore the bulk of accident prevention has, until recently, been directed toward the elimination of such accident-prone situations in the home, train, automobile and other means of transportation, and in the shop, office or factory.

Although an exact description cannot be drawn of the accident-prone person, several observers have deduced