Suicides, unintentional poisoning deaths increase; fatal traffic crashes decline: study

October 9, 2012

Morgantown, WV – The number of deaths as a result of suicide has increased over the past decade, surpassing traffic crashes as the No. 1 cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, according to a report from the West Virginia University School of Public Health and Injury Control Research Center.

Researchers found that the suicide mortality rate increased 15 percent from 2000 to 2009. Deaths from vehicle crashes dropped to the second leading cause of injury-related death in the final year of the study – 2009 – and the mortality rate decreased 25 percent during the past decade, which researchers called a “universal success story,” according to a press release.

The unintentional poisoning mortality rate increased nearly 130 percent in 10 years, and such deaths – mostly driven by an increase in fatal prescription painkiller overdoses – are now the third leading cause of injury mortality.

The report was published online Sept. 20 in the American Journal of Public Health.