For the first time in nearly 30 years, government officials have concluded that the number of deaths due to poisoning has surpassed that of vehicular fatalities, reports The New York Times.
The study was compiled using data from the year 2008, as it takes several years to compile accurate totals. The National Center for Health Statistics estimated 41,000 deaths in the U.S. due to poisoning in that year, making it the highest cause of injury-related fatalities. Motor vehicle accidents totaled nearly 38,000 deaths in 2008, which was a nearly 4,000 person decrease from the year prior.
While the deaths due to auto accidents have gone down over the past three decades, poison-related deaths have slowly risen. Over 90 percent of these deaths are drug-related, with the biggest offenders being prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Percocet, according to the news source.
Although the rate of accidents may have gone down, vehicle safety is still paramount. Regular auto maintenance can help catch any mechanical problems before they turn into larger or more dangerous issues that could impact drivers out on the road. A set of new tires, for example, can help cut down on accidents related to winter driving.