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Leading Causes of Accidental Death

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A lot of the time I write about car accidents and the types of car features (or lack thereof) that contribute to tragic wrecks. However, while car accidents once topped the list of the most common causes of death for Americans, a recent study found that suicide now ranks above, and this is due in part to the increased safety features of vehicles. On the flipside, the third leading cause of death that came in behind car accidents and suicide was overdoses–and the researchers speculate that these are most commonly prescription opioid overdoses.

Researchers from West Virginia School of Public Health looked at National Center for Health Statistics data from 2000 to 2009 and found that the death rate increased 15% for suicide, while it decreased for car accidents by 25%. Deaths from unintentional overdoses increased by 128% in the same time period. Prescription painkiller overdoses likely drive this giant increase, according to the researchers.

Other top causes of death for Americans included falls and homicide. Overall, accidental deaths are more common for men than women. Researchers also added that if you looked at the data from 2010 in addition to the 2000 to 2009 data, the rate of accidental overdoses would increase to 136%.