Falls Supplanting MVA’s as Leading Cause of Fatal TBI’s
The July 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reviews statistics on fatal TBIs from 2003-2008. During those years the percentage of fatal TBIs from motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) continued to decline while those from falls continued to rise. As of 2008 fatal TBIs from MVAs accounted for 31% of all fatal TBIs, while falls came in second at 29% and acts of criminal and non-criminal violence came in at 20%. Men suffered fatality rates 15 times higher than women, and workers 65 and over had the highest TBI fatality rates of all workers (2.5 per 100,000 per year). Experts say that falls have increased significantly as a cause of fatal TBI because more of our aging population is over age 65, while vigorous enforcement of seatbelt laws and improved safety features of automobiles (including side airbags and computerized sensing of imminent collisions) have lowered fatalities from head injuries in MVAs.
The occupation with the highest number of fatal TBIs was construction. The highest rate of fatal TBIs was associated with the transportation, agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries, recording nearly half of all work-related TBI fatalities.