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HHS HealthBeat (December 7, 2012)

The leading cause

A car drives down the highway.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

We know the deaths that come by motor vehicle crashes. But a researcher says motor vehicle crashes are no longer the leading cause of injury deaths. At West Virginia University, Ian Rockett looked at the rates of suicides from 2000 through 2009:

“Suicide ranked as the second-leading cause of injury death in 2000, behind unintentional motor vehicle traffic crashes. However, in 2009, it surpassed traffic crashes to become the leading cause.”

Rockett’s study did not look for causes, but he says the country has been doing a lot more to prevent traffic deaths – such as by driving safer cars and wearing seat belts – than it has been doing about suicide.

The study in the American Journal of Public Health was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: December 9, 2012