Gun Violence Overtakes Car Crashes as Main Trauma Killer
A new study finds that gun-related deaths are now the leading cause of “years of potential life lost” due to trauma
You’re now more likely to die of a gunshot than die in a car accident in the United States, according to a study by the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open. The almost ten-year study, conducted from 2009 to 2018, concluded that deaths due to gun violence overtook motor vehicle crashes (MVC) as the leading source of trauma-related deaths in the United States.
Gun deaths overtook MVC as the leading cause in 2017, where there were 1.44 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) due to gun-related deaths, compared to 1.37 million YPLL from car crashes. Those figures are based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2009 and 2018, the most recent year for which data was available. Worryingly, the trend continued in 2018 with 83,037 more YPLL attributed to firearms versus MVC. And although data for 2019, 2020, and 2021 isn’t available, the problem only seems to be getting worse with the U.S. setting firearm sales records in 2020.
“Although the predominant cause of YPLL because of trauma deaths was previously attributed to MVC, the paradigm has shifted as we now see that firearms are the leading cause of YPLL since 2017.”—Study-Firearms: The leading cause of years of potential life lost-Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open
Researchers hoped to examine the evolution of firearm-related deaths based on sex, race and geographical location. They used the CDC standard formula as the method to calculate years of potential life lost by subtracting the age of death from the standard age of 80, to represent the average U.S. life expectancy of 78.7 years and then added the differences. The average life expectancy for males in the United States is 77.8 years, as of 2020, which is a drop from the previous year’s average of 78.8 years. A woman in the United States has a slightly higher average at 80.5 years.
A study released in January from the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety shows there is a direct correlation between weaker gun laws and higher rates of gun deaths, including homicides, suicides and accidental killings.
The group found California had the strongest gun laws, with a score of 84.5 out of 100. Because of its stringent gun laws, the state fell below the nation’s 13.6 average of gun-related deaths with 8.5 per 100,000 residents in terms of location. Mississippi, a state with relatively lax gun laws, rates the highest of all states at 28.6 gun deaths per 100,000 residents.
Despite California having strong guns laws, accidents can happen. If you or a loved one has been the victim of gun violence or have lost someone to gun-related trauma, the compassionate wrongful death attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot LLP can help guide you during this difficult time and help you seek the relief and compensation you deserve.
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