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Accidents don't "Happen" — they are Caused!

Around the world, accidents rank among the chief killers of mankind.
What CAUSES accidents?
What can be done about them?


THE present rate of automobile carnage, one of every two Americans living can expect to be killed or injured in a traffic accident during his or her lifetime!

From nation to nation, statistics are equally grim wherever the automobile is extant — and in many nations, the statistics are even more macabre!

And not only the automobile.

Around the world accidents of all sorts cause more deaths than any single illness except cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In many nations, more children from 5 to 19 die from accidents than from all other causes combined! Accidents take a greater toll in young lives than war!



Now consider this frightful fact: the 55,000 Americans who were killed in automobile accidents in 1968 were more than the total combat fatalities of the original 13 colonies in the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War and the Korean War combined.

Or consider this: Since the invention of the automobile, more than 1,700,000 Americans have been killed in auto wrecks — more than the total Americans killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and all other wars involving the U.S.


The Saddest Words in Any Language

"I'm sorry — but it was an accident." Perhaps these words are the most tragic, heartbreaking, saddest words of any language.

Seven-year-old Denice Marie Sanders ran up to her father and teased: "Shoot me, Daddy." She died a few hours later. The gun her father had held was not loaded with blanks as he had thought.

But Denice Marie was dead — and all the tears on earth could not change that brutal fact!

Lana Knowles, 5, was teasing her little brother George, called Butchie. "I shoot you," giggled Butchie, picking up one of his father's matched pair of derringers which the children sometimes played with when father was gone. Butchie pulled the trigger. Lana slumped to the floor with a bullet in her left temple.

Horrible? Of course.

Accidents are so needless! But every year over 100,000 die and another 50 million are injured accidentally in the United States alone!

The news is constantly filled with accounts of airplane crashes, drowning, train wrecks, mine disasters, cave-ins, accidental explosions, speedway catastrophes. But most accidents never make the newspapers.

Approximately one fourth of the population of the United States is sidelined by injuries each year! Leading the list of mishaps are falls, which account for about 12 million injuries annually. Then another 4 million individuals are struck by a moving object such as a stone; about 4 million are injured yearly in automobile accidents; 3.5 million are injured by bumping into an object or person.

Of all injuries, about 44.9 percent — or almost half — generally occur around the home!

The 50 million accidental injuries a year in the U.S. temporarily disable more than 10 million, and permanently impair another 400,000 persons.

Accidents at work, however, annually disable more people than automobile accidents! In 1967, a total of 2,200,000 persons suffered disabling injuries while at work, compared to 1,900,000 from motor vehicle accidents. Accidents on the job also cause about ten times as many lost working days as do strikes and other work stoppages.

On every work day, 55 persons are killed in industrial accidents in the U.S., 8,500 are disabled, and 27,000 hurt less seriously.

The three top jobs for accidents are coal mining, construction, and agriculture. The four million men who earn their living building skyscrapers, bridges and other major projects earn the highest workmen's wages, but also have the deadliest jobs. They suffered 2,800 deaths and 240,000 severe injuries in 1966. In construction, accidents claimed 174 million man days a year, almost 30 times the time lost in strikes!

Nationwide in 1968, about 114,000 Americans were killed "accidentally." These accidents cost the United States about $60 million every day, $40,000 every minute, or $700 every second! The cost of accidents totaled a whopping $22,500,000,000 — including wage losses, medical fees, insurance settlements, property damage, and destruction by fire, etc. Over half this figure is attributable to injuries and property damage resulting from automobile collisions.


WHY Accidents?

But why do accidents occur? What causes them? Why do they occur more frequently at certain times than at others?

Are accidents simply part of life — to be expected? Are they simply due to a "run of bad luck"? Is life itself like a game of chance?

Around the earth, millions believe life was foreordained to be a certain way, and there is nothing they can do to change it. If they run into reverses, they blame their stars. If they become sick, or are hit by a car, or gored by a bull, they blame "the fates."

Millions believe there is nothing one can do about accidents. Like a soldier in Vietnam who says, "If the bullet has your number on it, then it's all over for you. There's nothing you can do about it. Your time has come."

Are accidents unavoidable? Why do some people seem to be more "accident-prone" than others?


A Leading Cause of Death!

For all ages, accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In 1966, heart disease claimed 727,002 lives; cancer claimed 303,736 lives; stroke killed 204,841; and accidents killed another 113,563.

However, among all persons aged 137, accidents are the NUMBER ONE cause of death! In fact, more students in college die accidentally than succeed in taking their own lives purposefully!

For children aged 1-14 years, accidents claim more lives than the six leading diseases and other causes combined — cancer, congenital malformations, pneumonia, heart disease, meningitis, and homicide. For youths 15-24 years of age, accidents again are the leading cause of death, causing eight times as many deaths as the next leading cause — cancer!

Every five minutes, somebody somewhere in the United States dies from an accident. There are thirteen such deaths every hour, or 310 every single day (on the average).

Every three seconds there is an injury due to accidents. That's 20 every minute, 1,200 every hour, or 30,000 every single day.

But the amazing thing is — the overwhelming majority of these deaths, injuries, and the awesome expense could be AVOIDED! It is all so tragic — so unnecessary!


Highway Horror

Every two-and-one-half minutes, someone, somewhere in the world, from South Africa to Chile, or Norway to New Zealand, dies from an auto accident.

Since the first automobile chugged noisily down cobblestone streets in 1889 till the present, about 70,000,000 Americans have been killed, crippled, maimed or disabled in car accidents!

But the United States is not alone facing this vicious killer. In many nations around the world, automobile deaths have reached "epidemic proportions."

Declared Dr. William Haddon, Jr., National Safety Director, the violence committed against the public by automobile accidents "exceeds all crimes of violence by a ratio of ten to one."

"People just do not realize the magnitude of the problem," asserted the chief of highway safety in the U.S. "It is naïve to approach violence in the United States by not talking about the most common form of violence, the automobile accidents."

Strong words, but true!

Not long ago three Yale University professors agreed that the automobile is "public health enemy No. 1 in this country"!

It pollutes the air, congests the cities, and contributes to heart disease because people hardly walk anywhere any more — besides the grisly toll of automobile accidents.

Said Dr. H. Richard Weinerman, professor of medicine and public health, "For the first time in human history the problem of man's survival has to do with his control of man-made hazards." He was referring particularly to the automobile and related hazards.

Part of the blame, said Dr. Paul B. Sears, professor emeritus of conservation, lies with "a society which regards profit as a supreme value, under the illusion that anything that's technically possible is, therefore, ethically justified."