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Burden of Road Injuries Can Be Reduced

Release Date: 
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

ROSEMONT, IL – The impact of musculoskeletal injuries caused by road traffic accidents places a huge burden on American society. But more can be done to reduce that burden, says the United States Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD.)

In support of ‘Road Safety,’ the theme of the World Health Organization’s April 7 World Health Day, the USBJD is calling on U.S. Federal and state governments to place road traffic safety high on their public policy agendas, to further reduce speed limits, to regulate more seatbelt and helmet usage, and to improve road conditions. It is also calling on healthcare professionals to spread awareness and focus on ways to reduce the burden.

Such actions, the USBJD says, would reduce the number of affected citizens, lower economic costs, and lead to improved means for returning injured Americans to normal and productive lives.

Road traffic injuries are expected to have moved from 9th to 3rd place on the list of the 15 disorders causing the most death and disability worldwide by 2020.

Each year, road traffic injuries kill more than a million men, women and children around the world. Tens of millions more are injured, some of who become permanently disabled. For every death, there are approximately 25 serious injuries. Permanent disabilities outnumber fatalities four to one. Hospitalizations outnumber fatalities ten to one, and emergency room care 30 to one. The USBJD is supporting efforts throughout the United States and around the world to reduce the prevalence and cost of road traffic injuries.

In the U.S., more than 40,000 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes every year, with more than 4 million more suffering injuries severe enough to require treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death in the United States for those 1-34 years of age. Economic costs in the U.S. are 5 per cent of GDP.

“We believe that by making more safety equipment standard on all vehicles, improving road conditions and signage, eliminating impaired driving, increasing the use of seat belts in automobiles, and urging the use of helmets by all bicyclists, the number of deaths and road injuries would be substantially diminished,” says Regis O’Keefe, MD, PhD, President, United States Bone and Joint Decade. “We are also asking healthcare organizations, particularly those concerned with child safety, as well as trauma, to highlight road safety in an effort to reduce injuries and improve quality of life.”

Bone and joint (musculoskeletal) disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S., affecting one in seven Americans. They are the number one reason for visiting the doctor. The burden of disease is rising significantly. The Bone and Joint Decade’s goals are to raise public awareness, improve patient education, increase research, and improve diagnosis and treatment in order to reduce the burden of disease.

For more background and resources click here

Toby King
United States Bone and Joint Decade
[email protected]