Vehicle Deaths and Suicide – Bittersweet News
According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health, the number of deaths by suicide has now surpassed the number of deaths in vehicle crashes. Over the last decade, car-crash fatalities have declined, while suicides have risen. This is bittersweet news for drivers and families everywhere.
Ian Rockett, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University, headed up the study, and notes that the data may be incomplete regarding suicides, “I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe.” Using data from the US National Center for Health Statistics, Rockett found that car-crash fatalities had declined by 25%, while suicide increased by 15%. Interestingly, deaths from poisoning increased by 128%, leading Rockett to believe that some of that increase may actually be intentional drug overdosing.
The 25% drop in vehicle-related fatalities may be attributed to a number of factors, including the decreasing average age of vehicles on the road, with a corresponding increase in the number of active and passive safety features on the road. There may be fewer drivers on the road, due to rising vehicle payments, fuel costs, and insurance premiums, meaning less chances of accidents occurring. It would be good to see this trend continue, but hopefully not the suicide trend.