For Release: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Latest State Figures Show Injury Prevention Strategies Working to Reduce Motor Vehicle Deaths While Gun Deaths Mount
WASHINGTON, DC–A new Violence Policy Center (VPC) state-by-state analysis of government data comparing firearm deaths and motor vehicle deaths shows that gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in 10 states in 2009, the most recent year for which state level data is available. The 10 states which experienced more firearm deaths than motor vehicle deaths in 2009 are: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington (see alphabetical listing of states with mortality figures below). Nationally, there were 31,236 firearm deaths in 2009 and 36,361 motor vehicle deaths according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Alaska: 104 gun deaths, 84 motor vehicle deaths
Arizona: 856 gun deaths, 809 motor vehicle deaths
Colorado: 583 gun deaths, 565 motor vehicle deaths
Indiana: 735 gun deaths, 715 motor vehicle deaths
Michigan: 1,095 gun deaths, 977 motor vehicle deaths
Nevada: 406 gun deaths, 255 motor vehicle deaths
Oregon: 417 gun deaths, 394 motor vehicle deaths
Utah: 260 gun deaths, 256 motor vehicle deaths
Virginia: 836 gun deaths, 827 motor vehicle deaths
Washington: 623 gun deaths, 580 motor vehicle deaths
The full text of the VPC analysis including policy recommendations is available at vpc.org/studies/gunsvscars.pdf.
Motor vehicle deaths are on the decline as the result of a successful decades-long public health-based injury prevention strategy that includes safety-related changes to vehicles and highway design informed by comprehensive data collection and analysis. Meanwhile, firearms are the only consumer product not regulated by the federal government for health and safety.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Americans are reaping the benefits of smart safety regulation of motor vehicles. The idea that gun deaths exceed motor vehicle deaths in 10 states is stunning when one considers that 90 percent of American households own a car while fewer than a third own firearms. It is also important to consider that motor vehicles–unlike guns–are essential to the functioning of the entire U.S. economy. It is time to end firearms’ status as the last unregulated consumer product.”