tue, 22-nov-2005, 08:43

Earlier today I was reading pragmatik's blog and he mentioned seeing three auto accidents (one fatal) on his way to Baltimore. It's been a subject on my mind recently as a graduate student friend of mine was recently killed in an auto accident. I decided to visit the Statistical Abstract of the United States to look at death and accident rates. Death rate figures appear in Table 102 in the 2004-2005 Abstract. For all Americans, the rates per 100,000 people in 2002 were:

Heart disease240.4
Lower respiratory43.7
Liver disease9.3

(apologies for the formatting of the table. I can't seem to figure out the column formatting stuff.)

That rate of 35.5 people per 100,000 translates into 102,303 people in 2002 that died by accident. The next table in the Abstract (Table 103) breaks these down into smaller categories. For accidents:

AccidentRate / 100,0002002 Count
Motor vehicles15.544,572
Smoke, Fire1.03,024
Firearm discharge0.3813

Fourty-four thousand people is an awful lot to die on our roads in 2002. That's 122 people every day, or a major airline crash a few times a week. There's no further detail on these accidents, but it would be interesting to know in what percentage of cases alcohol was involved, and what percentage of the fatalities weren't wearing their seatbelts.

On a lighter note (sort of), Table 175 shows the Injuries Associated with Consumer Products, shown as estimated emergency room treatments in 2001. A few numbers: 1,087,546 people went to the emergency room after an incident on the stairs, 349,679 people had trouble with a door that was bad enough they had to see a doctor. 118,501 people hurt themselves with their footwear, and 47,210 people were injured by their televisions. Bizzare. I knew television was dangerous, but I never thought I'd have to go to the emergency room because of it!

tags: society 

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