Purpose: To examine the trends in injury mortality among young people aged 15-24 years residing in the 15 current member states of the European Union between 1984 and 1993.
Methods: As part of a European Commission-funded project entitled European Review of Injury Surveillance and Control (EURORISC), mortality data for all externally caused physical injuries (International Classification of Disease Codes E800-999) were obtained from the World Health Organization. Data were analyzed to generate age-specific injury mortality rates and proportional differences in rates over the study period. Linear regression was used to represent the linear component of the mortality profile.
Results: Almost a quarter of a million young people died as a result of sustaining an externally caused physical injury (either unintentional or intentional) in the study countries between 1984 and 1993. Injury accounted for two-thirds of all deaths in this age group. Over three-quarters (76%) of deaths were due to unintentional injury, a further 17% to self-inflicted injuries, and the remaining 7% to homicide and other violent causes. Motor vehicle traffic fatalities accounted for 84% of unintentional injury deaths. Although a decline in injury mortality was observed throughout Europe, rates of mortality owing to both unintentional injuries and suicide varied widely among study countries at both the beginning and end of the study period.
Conclusions: Whereas injury mortality rates in young people in most European countries are lower than in other parts of the world (including the United States), injuries represent a major public health problem in the European Union. The death toll from motor vehicle traffic crashes is a particular cause for concern.