Pessimistic View of Accident Prevention Poses Hurdle to Reducing Injuries

Nearly one in every three Americans believes nothing can be done to prevent accidental injuries, posing a major obstacle to national efforts to reverse escalating injury trends in the United States, according to a national survey of American attitudes on safety issues released by the National Safety Council.

This finding comes on the heels of an NSC injury report in June showing that accidental deaths and injuries are climbing and at current rates could hit an all-time high in the next few years if public action isn't taken to reverse the trend.

Despite this pessimistic view on prevention, 58 percent of Americans believe accidental injuries are a serious public health concern, and 46 percent ranked accidental injuries as the greatest risk to their health and well-being, as opposed to less than 25 percent who ranked violent crime as the greatest risk.

“We're encouraged that Americans recognize accidental injuries as a major concern in their everyday lives,” said NSC President and CEO Alan C. McMillan. “However, this survey clearly shows that we have our work cut out for us in educating Americans about how to prevent injuries from ever occurring.”

For example, NSC data shows that poisoning, particularly from overdoses of prescription and illicit drugs, is now the fastest-rising cause of accidental death, with major increases among working age adults.

The survey also indicates that the nation is receptive to safety advocacy efforts. A majority of the respondents believe they can act to prevent accidents, and three-quarters (76 percent) say their companies are concerned about injury prevention at work. This focus on occupational safety is reflected in a 17 percent decline in the workplace accidental death rate since 1992.

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