Depending on who you ask, the leading cause of death in this country could be auto accidents, or heart disease (Oklahoma was number three in the nation in 2010), or falls. But a new report from the National Safety Council tells us that accidental deaths – specifically, those cause by drug overdoses or poisoning – are inching towards that top spot, according to an AP report on Fox 25. Collectively, the amount of people who die from these types of accidental poisonings is up 78% over the last decade; auto accidents and falls round out the top three. Oklahoma is second in the nation for accidental deaths, with 64.3 out of every 100,000 people dying from an otherwise preventable cause.
By the time you finish reading this, another American may have died
According to the news report, “An American dies of accidental injury every four minutes. If you count people who do not die but need medical help, the rate increases to one every second, according to the safety council.” The NSC issues an Injury Report every year, and creates an “odds chart” for fatal accidents. In descending order, some of the other accidental deaths included:
- Pedestrian Incident
- Motorcycle Rider Incident
- Unintentional Drowning and Submersion
- Exposure to Fire, Flames or Smoke
- Choking from Inhalation and Ingestion of Food
- Pedacyclist Incident
- Exposure to Excessive Natural Heat
- Contact with Hornets, Wasps and Bees
(You can view the complete list here, if you are interested.)
Taking steps to avoid fatal accidents
Obviously, there are some accidents you cannot avoid – that’s why they’re called accidents, after all. But taking certain safety precautions in our day-to-day lives may allow you to avoid serious injuries and keep you alive:
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Distracted driving, distracted walking – these are real problems that cause real injuries. Look both ways before you cross the street, keep your eyes up and on the road ahead of you, and avoid using your phone when you are not safely where you need to be.
- Wear protective clothing. Bicycle and motorcycle helmets can protect you from traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash or collision. Seat belts can keep you from breaking your neck or your spine in an auto accident. Hard hats, googles and protective gloves can keep you safer on a job site. Whether you are spending the day at a barbeque or working at night on road construction, make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and safety gear for whatever you have to do that day.
- Stay inside during bad weather. Don’t drive or let your children play outside in thunderstorms or hail, and make sure you can access your basement in case of a tornado. We know that sometimes, it will be necessary to go out in poor weather – just make sure you have a fully charged phone and road flares if you do, and try not to take unnecessary risks.
- Teach your children about drugs. Opioid painkillers are killing people every single day in this country – about 52 per day, according to the NSC. If your children are old enough to understand, talk to them about the potential dangers of drugs. If you have small children in the house, keep your prescription medications somewhere they cannot get to them, and consider installing safety locks on the cabinets and cupboards where you keep your cleaning supplies.
If you do lose a loved one in an auto accident or on the job, or as the result of another person’s negligence, you have legal options available to you. The Oklahoma wrongful death lawyers of Stipe Law Firm can help you, just like we’ve been helping families throughout the state for generations. Give us a call at (918) 505-7741, or use this contact form, and request a free consultation at our McAlester office today. We proudly serve the entire Southeast region of Oklahoma.