A study just released ranked all the U.S. states according to safety based on the number of injury deaths from either accidents or violence. Florida is doing some things right, but ranked as the 18th deadliest state, our residents’ safety can be improved by following some key steps recommended by the authors to prevent injuries.
“The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report”, a study by the RWJF or Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the TFAH or Trust for America’s Health,” studied each state and ranked them on a scale of 0 to 10, with states being awarded one point for each of 10 safety-improving policies.
Two states, New York and California, scored nine out of the possible 10 points, and had the best overall ratings. Both Montana and Ohio, with just two out of 10 points scored the lowest, although New Mexico was noted as having the highest rate of injury deaths in the U.S. Florida scored 6 out of 10, along with 9 other states.
According to the report, “injuries are the third leading cause of death nationally, and they are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of one and 44.” In addition, nearly 50 million Americans receive medical treatment for injuries each year, and close to 3 million are hospitalized. Among the younger population, 12,000 children and teens die from injuries each year and 9.2 million are treated in emergency rooms, according to the study.
Florida has 66.8 injury-related deaths for every 100,000 residents each year, as compared to the national average of about 58 deaths per 100,000 people. New Mexico had the most at 97.8, and New Jersey had the least at just 36.1 deaths.
The states’ safety rankings were assigned according to a variety of safety policies including helmet laws, mandatory seat-belt laws, teen dating violence and prescription drug abuse. Florida scored a point for each of the following safety initiatives: primary seat belt law, bicycle helmet use for all children, intimate partner violence law allowing dating partners to seek protective orders, strong concussion law, active prescription drug monitoring program and a program to track causes of injuries for emergency room visits.
“There are proven, evidence-based strategies that can spare millions of Americans from injuries each year,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. “This report focuses on specific, scientifically supported steps we can take to make it easier for Americans to keep themselves and their families safer.”
Among the areas that Florida legislation can make changes to save lives each year include: a comprehensive helmet law requiring helmet use for all riders, mandatory ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, mandatory booster seats up to eighty years of age, and teen dating violence support.
Our Treasure Coast personal injury attorneys applaud these organizations for taking a close look at injury causes and prevention across the United States. Our legal team has continually addressed the need for a helmet law in the state, and realizes that this one change can lead to saving countless lives in Florida. We will continue to advocate for the safety of our residents.
About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida on the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, product liability, dog bite injuries, swimming pool accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims.
The firm represents clients throughout the South Florida communities of Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Stuart, Okeechobee, Vero Beach, Palm Beach, and across the state of Florida. For more information, call (800) 299-8878 or use the firm’s online contact form.