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Accidental injury rises to third leading cause of death in the U.S.

For the first time since records have been kept, preventable injuries have become the third leading cause of death in the United States, the National Safety Council (NSC) announced Wednesday. In fact, data shows that preventable deaths rose 10 percent in 2016. 

The increase was largely due to an uptick in fatal motor vehicle crashes and drug overdoses, particularly the ongoing opioid crisis. According to the NSC, the opioid crisis claimed the lives of 37,814 people who overdosed on prescription opioid pain relievers, fentanyl and heroin in 2016. 

Other significant causes of preventable deaths in the report include falling -- a growing concern as the population ages -- choking and drowning

According to the National Safety Council, accidental injury has become the third leading cause of death in the United States.  National Safety Council

"The truth is, there is no such thing as an accident," said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "Every single one of these deaths was preventable. We know what to do to save lives, but collectively, we have failed to prioritize safety at work, at home and on the road."   

The agency's analysis found that one American is injured every second and one is killed every three minutes by a preventable accident. In total, 161,374 people died of preventable injuries in 2016. Only heart disease and cancer are responsible for more deaths.

The NSC says preventable deaths have been on the rise since 2009. 

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