People talk about a fear of flying, but statistics say a person is more likely to die from lightning strike than a plane crash. Other fears include accidentally choking on food or animal attacks. However, the Center for Disease Control lists the leading cause of death in individuals 1-44 years old is unintentional injury. For a complete list of the CDC’s top 10 click here.

Based on statistics collected in 2016 (the most recent year with comprehensive data), 61,749 individuals died from unintentional injury, which is nearly double the combined number of people who die from cancer and heart disease.

The leading causes

The leading cause of these unintentional deaths is motor vehicle accidents or accidental poisoning. These are defined as follows:

Motor vehicle accidents: The CDC announced that more than 32,000 people are killed annually in motor vehicle accidents here in the U.S. Common causes for unintentional motor vehicle accidents are defined as driving while intoxicated, driving while distracted, driving faster than the posted speed limit, failure to use seatbelts and other negligent behavior.

Accidental poisoning: The CDC defines poisoning as any substance that is harmful to the body if eaten, inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin. This includes prescription drug overdoses, carbon monoxide poisoning from house fires and accidental poisoning from household products. According to the CDC, the total number of fatalities for poisoning was over 14,800.

Safety precautions help, but are no guarantee

Employing a variety of safe driving habits and safety precautions can help; but unfortunately, some events are beyond our control. The injured and the families of victims who died due to the negligence of others are advised to consult with an attorney who has experience in personal injury and wrongful death suits. These professionals can help protect clients’ rights and financial interests.