Each year, millions of Americans are rushed to emergency rooms to receive treatment for often-serious injuries that could have been prevented. Simply buckling a seat belt, strapping on a bicycle helmet or ensuring that children use proper athletic equipment could prevent thousands of accidental deaths and injuries annually. And taking these steps would save billions of dollars in health care costs.
The failure of crash victims to wear seat belts leads to an estimated 9,200 unnecessary deaths and 143,000 needless injuries, resulting in $26 billion in health care costs each year. Similarly, wearing bicycle helmets would prevent an estimated 500 bicycle-related fatalities and 151,000 nonfatal head injuries each year saving more than $3 billion in health care costs.
By simply buckling seat belts, wearing bicycle helmets and using other safety equipment -- and making sure our children do, too -- we can save billions of dollars in unnecessary medical expenses and help keep health care affordable.