According to a study by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Denver Health Medical Center, the number of both violent and unintentional fatal injuries jumped 7.4% between 2014 and 2016. Incidents such as suicide, homicide, and car accidents continue to be the leading causes of death.
In the studied time period, fatal, unintentional injuries rose by 8.6%, homicides rose by 9.4%, and fatal car accidents rose by 6.3%. Researchers had conducted this study after trauma surgeons in the Colorado area noticed that they were treating an increasing number of violent incidents in recent years. This study did look at data between 2000 and 2016 but found that the specific two year period between 2014 and 2016 saw the injuries increasing at a faster rate.
Across the country, suicide rates have been increasing and this recent study found that about half of deaths caused by suicide involved a firearm. About two-thirds of homicides in the study were also firearm-related.
According to The Denver Post, researchers do not know what is causing the increase in fatal injuries. They speculate that social media and civil unrest in 2014 could have led to more violent incidents and car accidents.
While the general causes of car wrecks are many, data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that the deadliest day of the year on the road is August 2. IIHS looked at fatalities between 2012 and 2016 and in that period a total of 505 people were killed on that day.
“In the summer, the weather is nice, sunny, and people just are a little more reckless, they’re a little less careful,” says Becca Weast, a research scientist at IIHS.
Weast said that August is one of the deadliest months of the year in terms of car wrecks because of these reasons as well. In the study’s span, there were 15,914 fatalities in August. When the weather is bad or people are driving on a popular day for drinking, like New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July, people tend to be more careful. Warm weather and the lure of vacation lower a driver’s awareness.
Even when a driver survives a car wreck, their lack of attention can be costly. In 2010, car accidents cost a total of $76.1 billion in property damage, which is 31% of all economic costs.