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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
March 2, 2011

Vital Signs: Nonfatal, Motor Vehicle—Occupant Injuries (2009) and Seat Belt Use (2008) Among Adults—United States

JAMA. 2011;305(9):884-886. doi:

MMWR. 2011;59:1681-1686

1 figure, 1 box, 3 tables omitted

On January 4, this report was posted as an MMWR Early Release on the MMWR website (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr).

In addition to being the leading cause of death among U.S. residents aged 5-34 years, motor vehicle—occupant injuries account for approximately 15% of all nonfatal injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments.1 In 2005, the lifetime costs of fatal and nonfatal motor vehicle—occupant injuries were estimated at approximately $70 billion, including costs for medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, and lost productivity.2 Motor vehicles account for approximately 90% of all trips taken in the United States, and the vast majority of persons killed and injured while traveling are occupants of motor vehicles.3 Seat belts, which reduce the risk for fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes by approximately 45% and serious injuries by approximately 50%,4 are the most effective intervention for protecting motor vehicle occupants.5 Primary seat belt enforcement laws and enhanced enforcement of such laws have been shown to increase the use of seat belts and reduce death rates.6