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Florida Receives Average Score in Advocacy Group’s Injury Prevention Ranking

1158220_39704248.jpgA national health care advocacy organization, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), recently released a report on injury-related deaths in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, entitled “The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report.” TFAH identified ten “key indicators” of injury prevention in state laws and regulations. The study ranked the states and D.C. based on the number of key indicators present, and it also ranked them based on the rate of deaths per 100,000 people. Florida ranked near the middle on both scales, with only six of the ten key indicators. The state’s annual rate of 66.8 injury-related deaths gives it the eighteenth-highest rate in the country.

Injuries account for over 180,000 deaths each year, according to the study. Among people between the ages of one and forty-four years, injuries are the leading cause of death. Injuries account for nearly 90,000 deaths in that age group, compared to 50,000 for non-communicable disease and less than 10,000 for communicable disease. The study divides injuries into categories, including falls, blunt force injuries, gunshot wounds, cuts or puncture wounds, burns, poisoning, vehicular injuries, and drowning or suffocation. In all, the lifetime costs of injuries, which includes not only immediately medical expenses but also the ongoing cost of care, lost income, and lost productivity, exceed $406 billion per year.

New Mexico has the highest overall injury-related death rate, according to TFAH, with 97.8 deaths per 100,000. New Jersey has the lowest rate at 36.1. Florida is just behind Colorado’s 67.8 and ahead of North Carolina’s 66. TFAH states in its report that it cannot say with certainty why one state has a lower or higher injury-related death rate than another state, but that its list of “key indicators” can offer states guidance on how to effectively prevent injuries.

Ten states, including Florida, have six of the ten key indicators named by TFAH. Two states, California and New York, have nine, but no state has all ten. Montana and Ohio scored lowest, with two each. Florida’s six key indicators include:

– Laws requiring seat belt use;
– Laws requiring children to wear bicycle helmets while riding;
– Availability of protective or restraining orders for people in dating relationships;
– Laws protecting youth athletes from concussions;
– Monitoring program for prescription drug use and abuse; and

– Use of external cause-of-injury coding in at least ninety percent of hospital discharges after injury treatment.

The four areas where Florida did not meet TFAH’s standards are:

– Required use of ignition interlock devices by all convicted drunk drivers;
– Laws requiring helmets for all motorcyclists;
– Laws requiring children up to the age of eight to use booster seats in cars; and
– An “A” grade in a review of teen dating violence laws conducted in 2010 by the organization Break the Cycle. Florida received a “B.”

The South Florida injury attorneys at Cohn & Smith help recover compensation for people who have suffered injury due to the negligence or unlawful conduct of others. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers, contact us today online, or call us at 954-431-8100, or 305-624-9186.

Web Resources:

The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report (PDF), The Trust for America’s Health, May 2012
2010 State Law Report Card: Florida (PDF), Break the Cycle, 2010

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Photo credit: ‘Ready to Ride’ by charlotel on stock.xchng.

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