Between 1912 and 2018, public preventable injury-related death rates declined 63%, from 30 to 11.0 per 100,000 population (after adjusting for the 1948 change in classification). Unintentional deaths in public places exclude deaths and injuries involving motor vehicles and people at work or at home.

In 1912, an estimated 28,000 to 30,000 people died from public injuries. In 2018, with triple the population and travel and recreational activity greatly increased, 36,000 people died from public unintentional injuries, and 12.6 million people suffered injuries serious enough to consult a medical professional.

Preventable Injuries and Injury-Related Deaths
in Public Places, 2018


Death rate per 100,000 population


Billion in costs

In 2018, the number of public preventable injury-related deaths was down 3% from the 2017 total of 37,100. The 2018 death rate per 100,000 population decreased 3.4%, from 11.4 in 2017 to 11.0.

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With an estimated 12.6 million medically consulted preventable injuries occurring in public places and a population of more than 327 million people, on average about 1 person in 25 experienced such an injury in 2018.

The two leading causes of preventable injury-related deaths in public places are poisoning and falls, each accounting for about 12,200 deaths, or 39% of public deaths. The next two leading causes of death are choking and drowning, each accounting for about 7% of public deaths. No other cause accounted for more than 1% of public deaths.

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Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics and state vital statistics departments.

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