Poisoning, including drug overdoses, is the leading cause of preventable injury-related death in the United States, according to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics. A total of 102,001 poisoning deaths occurred in 2021, accounting for about 45% of all preventable injury-related deaths. Poisoning fatalities were the leading cause of preventable injury-related deaths in age groups from 25 to 34 through 55 to 64.
Motor-vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of preventable death overall and the leading cause of preventable death from the 5 to 9 to the 15 to 24 year age groups. Exploring the historic trends using the interactive chart, motor-vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death among all ages prior to 2011. Other than in 2019, motor vehicle has been the second leading cause of death since 2013. Also noteworthy: falls were the second leading cause of death, outnumbering poisoning deaths, prior to 2002. With exception of 2019, falls have been the third leading cause of preventable injury-related death since 2002, behind poisoning and motor vehicle. Starting with the 65 to 74 year age group, falls become the leading cause of preventable injury-related death.
Tracking preventable injury-related deaths starting at birth, suffocation emerges as the leading cause for people younger than 1, overtaken by drowning among the 1 to 4 year age group.
In 2020, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal preventable injuries treated in hospital emergency departments, according to data from the All Injury Program, a cooperative program involving the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 6.8 million people were treated in an emergency department for fall-related injuries in 2020.
Use the interactive chart to explore how leading causes of nonfatal injuries have changed over time.
- Data Table