February 26, 2009

CDC: Driving safest in Northeast

A person driving in Mississippi has four times the risk of having a motor vehicle fatality than a person driving in Massachusetts, U.S. health officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report says there are vast differences among regions of the United States when it comes to motor vehicle fatalities.

From 1999 to 2005, the United States had a national average of 15.4 deaths per 100,000 population due to motor vehicle fatalities, the study says.

However, motor vehicle-related death rates were 36 percent lower in the Northeast -- 9.8 per 100,00 population -- and 5 percent lower in the Midwest -- 14.7 per100,000 population and 8 percent lower in the West -- 14.2 per 100,000 population.

The study found that the motor vehicle fatalities were considerably higher in the South. Compared to the national average, southern motor vehicles deaths were higher by 27 percent -- 19.5 per 100,000 population.

This study didn't examine why rates vary so much by region, however, prevention efforts such as lower blood alcohol concentration laws, vehicle safety improvements, better roads, improved emergency response, primary seat belt laws and alcohol checkpoints may help communities to save lives, CDC officials say.