Report: State injury prevention laws, policies vary widely

May 23, 2012

USA Today (5/23, Lloyd) reports, “Millions of injuries could be prevented every year if states adopted and enforced a set of laws and health policies with proven track records for saving lives, says a report out Tuesday, but many states are reluctant to do so when personal freedoms are at stake and as revenue continues to decline.” Linda Degutis, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Injury Center, which was not involved with the new report, stated, “We know injuries are preventable and we’d certainly rather prevent them than deal with the aftermath, which often results in death or long-term disability.”

Bloomberg News (5/23, Klopott) reports, “Poisoning, primarily by drugs, kills more people than car accidents, making it the biggest injury-related cause of death in the US, said” the “report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.” Across the US, “13.3 people per 100,000 died from poisoning between 2007 and 2009, compared with 12.4 from motor-vehicle accidents during the same period, the report found.” Over “90 percent of unintentional poisoning deaths in 2007 were caused by drugs and medicine, the report said.”

The National Journal (5/23, Sanger-Katz, Subscription Publication) reports, “The researchers compared per-capita injury death rates with the number of injury-prevention laws in all 50 states and found that, by and large, the states with the most laws had the fewest injury deaths.” That “trend didn’t hold uniformly, however. New Hampshire also ranked as relatively safe, with 50 deaths per 100,000 residents, even though it only has four of the 10 public-policy laws tracked by the report.”

CQ (5/23, Norman, Subscription Publication) reports, “The report found that 29 states don’t require bike helmets for all children, 31 don’t require motorcycle helmets for all riders and 14 lack strong laws to protect young people involved in sports against concussions.” Some “new trends in injuries include those connected to bullying, texting while driving, prescription drug abuse and falls among aging members of the baby boom generation.”

US made no overall progress in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011. The Los Angeles Times (5/23, Simon) “Nation Now” blog reports, “No progress was made last year in reducing motorcyclist deaths, even though overall motor vehicle fatalities dropped to their lowest level since 1949, according to the Governors Highway Safety Assn.”

HealthDay (5/23, Preidt) reports that, according to “an analysis of preliminary data from 50 states and the District of Columbia…there were about 4,500 motorcyclist deaths last year, the same number as in 2010.” However, “some individual states did see decreases in these fatalities in 2011, while rates rose in other states, according to the report.”