Pennsylvania has higher-than-average injury death rate

A recent report shows that Pennsylvania has a below-average rating among states proactive in trying to prevent injuries. Our state scored just 4 out of 10 in key indicators, including three crucial failures in efforts to prevent injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

In “The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report,” a report issued by Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit, non-partisan health advocacy organization, says we have the 23rd highest injury-related death rate in the nation. Our rate is 64.3 per 100,000 people; the national rate is about 10 percent lower, at 58.4 per 100,000.

One of the areas where we need to improve, the organization says, is in our driving laws. Pennsylvania doesn’t mandate ignition interlocks in the vehicles of first-time drunken drivers. We also should enact a primary seat belt law which would empower police officers to pull drivers over for seat belt violations. The organization says we could also improve road safety and cut down on injuries to teens and others by placing greater restrictions on teen driving permits.

A startling fact to jump out of the “Facts Hurt” report is that a Pennsylvania resident is statistically more likely to die of a drug overdose than in a car accident. Does that mean we are driving better or taking more dangerous drugs? Maybe it’s a combination of the two.

Either way, when Pittsburgh residents sustain severe injuries in traffic accidents, they can talk over their rights, interests and legal options with an attorney dedicated to helping clients maximize their compensation for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering.