Deaths from unintentional injury, or accidents, were the fifth leading cause of death in the United States—and North Carolina—in 2010. Accidents, such as car crashes, poisoning, and drowning, are the primary cause of death for children and young adults.

More than 4,100 North Carolina residents died from unintentional injuries in 2010:

  • 33% died from motor vehicle accidents (1,383)
  • 23% died from accidental poisoning (965)
  • 21% died from accidental falls (858)

Together, these three causes accounted for more than three-quarters (77%) of all accidental deaths in the state in 2010.

North Carolina’s accidental death rate is 11% higher than the national rate: 43.5 deaths per 100,000 people were due to accident in North Carolina in 2010 compared to 39.1 per 100,000 nationwide. Eliminating the gap between the state’s death rate due to motor vehicle accidents and the nation’s (14.5 per 100,000 versus 11.4) would eliminate most of the gap in accidental death rates.

Death Rate by Accidental Cause of Death 2010 NC v US

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