Though the emphasis on reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Washington state has been a focal point for law enforcement agencies and citizens alike, reports of gun deaths have also littered news headlines across the state in 2012. The Washington State Patrol’s Target Zero Teams have made it a focal point to eliminate traffic fatalities by the year 2030, and a recent study shows they may very well be on their way, as the number of gun deaths actually surpassed the number of traffic deaths in ten states across the U.S. in 2009.
Violence Policy Center’s Gun Deaths Study
A state-by-state analysis of government data conducted by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) has revealed some interesting information about fatalities in the United States. Whether it is good or bad news, however, is entirely dependent on your point of view.
According to the report, the VPC found that the number of gun deaths surpassed the number of motor vehicle deaths in ten U.S. states in 2009, the most recent year for which state-level data is available.
“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,” reads an entry from the VPC website. “Meanwhile, firearms are the only consumer product not regulated by the federal government for health and safety.”
In the VPC’s report, ten states are identified as having a higher rate of gun deaths than motor vehicle deaths. The table below illustrates the statistics involving these states:
|State||Gun Deaths in 2009||Traffic Deaths in 2009|
What it Means for Washington
The VPC’s findings can be considered a positive sign for Washington State, as the efforts of Target Zero – the Washington State Patrol’s campaign to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030 – have clearly made an impact on traffic fatalities in the state.
However, the discovery also means that there is more to be done for gun safety in the state, as we have even seen an unsettling spike in gun deaths, particularly with children, so far in 2012.
“Americans are reaping the benefits of smart safety regulation of motor vehicles,” says VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “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.”
And while there are constant debates over the availability and restrictions of guns in the United States, regulations on the product’s safety features and operational use are virtually nonexistent.
“It is also important to consider that motor vehicles – unlike guns – are essential to the functioning of the entire U.S. economy,” adds Rand. “It is time to end firearms’ status as the last unregulated consumer product.”
What do you think about the finding that gun deaths are now more frequent in Washington state than traffic deaths? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment box below. If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and lost wages. Contact the Davis Law Group today at 206-727-4000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.