Arizona has been able to decrease the rate of deaths from car, truck and motorcycle crashes by 43% in the last 4 years, from about 19 deaths per 100,000 in 2005 to 11 per 100,000 Arizonans in 2009. While this is good progress, we still have a long way to go. Crashes are still the leading cause of death for people between 3 and 34, and 710 Arizonans died from vehicle crashes in 2009. This is a dramatic decrease from 2005 when 1,128 Arizonans died in crashes. Between 2005 and 2009 Arizona improved roadways, implemented a graduated drivers license for people under 18, and strengthened our DUI laws and enforcement. More cities are decreasing red light running by various methods including red-light cameras. Also, our fleet of cars gets safer each year as older vehicles break down and get discarded.
The national trends are going in the right direction as well. You can read more about this Winnable Battle on the CDC’s website. You can also visit our injury prevention website and look at the response end of traumatic injury on our trauma site where you’ll find Arizona-specific reports. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done: seatbelt and child safety seat usage use is only at 80% and speeding and distracted driving remain a problem.
The CDC released some new state specific tools for policy makers and the public to help drive positive change. The CDC has a new State-specific website where you can download your state’s fact sheet. You’ll also find details about medical and work loss costs for your state. You can also learn more about your state’s policies related to motor vehicle safety and evidence-based strategies that could address gaps. Interventions to reduce motor vehicle deaths are multi-sectoral and include p0licy making, highway safety, law enforcement, public health, social marketing, engineering and other disciplines. Let’s keep this moving in the right direction.