Introduction: Recent observations suggest that the unintentional injury mortality rate may be increasing in the United States for the first time since 1979.
Method: This study examined trends in unintentional injury mortality by sex, race, mechanism, and age group to better understand these increases.
Results: From 1992 to 2002, mortality increased 11.0% (6.5% for males, 18.5% for females). The mortality rate increased 16.5% among whites, but declined among African Americans and other races. Rates among whites exceeded rates among African Americans for the first time since 1998. Fall rates increased 39.5% from 1992 to 2002, and poisoning rates increased 121.5%. Motor-vehicle rates did not increase overall. Rates in age groups from 40-64 years of age increased for falls, poisoning, and motor-vehicle crashes. Only fall rates increased for the 65+ age group.
Conclusions: These results raise the issue of whether these increases have one or more risk factors in common, such as recent increases in the use of alcohol and prescription drugs.