Alabama in Nation’s Top 10 for Rate of Fatal Injuries

There are times when a state doesn’t want to be in the top ten ranking.  One of those times is when the state has the tenth highest rate of death from injuries in the nation.  This honor, if we can call it that, is claimed by Alabama.

According to a report released today by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alabama has the 10th-highest rate of death from injuries in the nation.

Injury is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44, and one person dies from an injury every three minutes.  Theses injuries, which include those caused by accidents and violence, are a major public health problem in the United States, the authors of the report said in a press conference this morning.

In Alabama in a single year, the costs can be enormous.  According to estimates from 2005, the total medical costs from fatal injuries was $29.1 million, and the lifetime work loss costs were $3.4 billion.

Surveys of states by the Trust for America’s Health, check to see if states have adopted evidence-based policies meant to reduce the number of injuries each year and prevent deaths.  In these surveys, Alabama scored fairly well, meeting six of the 10 key indicators, including laws requiring seat belts, motorcycle helmets and bike helmets, as well as an active prescription drug monitoring program and a strong concussion law. 

The director of the John Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Andrea Gielen, said that state laws may not be enough.  She stated that we all have a role to play, and individuals can take initiative.  She also said that a lot of people are just not aware of injury as a problem and how to prevent it.