The rate of accidental death seems to be creeping up slowly and has touched almost 12%, which is quite high when compared to the lowest figures recorded in 1992. This was reported on Thursday by the National Safety Council.
The independent, nonprofit group warned that if the trend continues, the nation could surpass the all-time high of 116,385 accidental deaths, set in 1969.
From 1969 until 1992, the rate of accidental deaths steadily declined. The council credited seat belts and air bags in vehicles, smoke detectors in homes and stiff drunken driving laws with reducing deaths.
But now that ground is being lost on account of an increasing rate of fall among the elderly and deaths related to overdoses of drugs, both legal and illegal, according to Alan McMillan, CEO of the National Safety Council. Bikers above the age of 45 also add to almost 35% of the deaths in 2005.
The rate of death from fall among the age group 65 and above also rose to 31% from 1999 to 2003 dispelling the theory that home is a safe haven. Care must be taken to remove obstacles from the path of the elderly and install rails and grab bars for their support.
Deaths from falls climbed from 16,257 in 2002 to 17,229 in 2003, the most recent year for which data are available. The rate also went up, from 5.6 deaths to 5.9 deaths per 100,000 people.
Accidental poisoning deaths, mostly caused by medication or illegal drug overdoses, increased from 17,550 in 2002 to 19,457 in 2003. The rate climbed from 6.4 to 6.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
Meanwhile there seems to be some stability in rate of deaths from workplaces and car crashes.
Dying in a car crash is still the most frequent cause of accidental death for the younger generation; poisonings topped or tied car crashes among people in their 40s and falls were the leading cause of accidental deaths among the elderly.
Massachusetts had the lowest accidental death rate at 20.6 deaths per 100,000 people, and New Mexico had the highest accidental death rate at 65.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
It has been seen that accidents are the fifth leading cause of death after heart diseases, cancer, stroke and respiratory diseases. But for people in the age group 1 to 44 accidents are the top killer.