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FOR RELEASE: April 1, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Family Road Safety: Protect the Ones You Love
World Health Day is April 7

In 2001, motor vehicle traffic crashes in Oklahoma resulted in 597 deaths and were the leading cause of injury death in Oklahoma among people ages 0 to 64. The tragedy is that motor vehicle-related deaths, injuries and suffering could be prevented, according to health care officials.

Worldwide more than 1.2 million people die each year from road traffic-related injuries. In the United States more than 40,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year and medical costs alone exceeded $21 billion in 2000.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is joining the World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recognize April 7 as World Health Day to increase public awareness of road safety. The theme is “Family Road Safety: Protect the Ones You Love.”

Everyone is affected by road safety:

  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for men ages 15 - 44.
  • Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 30 minutes and injure someone every 2 minutes.
  • Two-thirds of children killed in alcohol-related crashes are riding with a drinking driver.

“You can help prevent road traffic injuries by wearing seatbelts, using proper child restraints, following speed limits, obeying the rules of the road, and not drinking and driving,” said OSDH Injury Prevention Service Interim Chief Shelli Stephens-Stidham.

Health officials say that greater public awareness and support of research and safety programs along with consistent enforcement of traffic laws, safer vehicles and roadways can go a long way to reducing vehicle-related injuries and deaths.

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