What I Live For!

June is National Safety Month

What-I-Live-For-squareInjuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages – and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.

This June, learn more about important safety issues like transportation safety; ergonomics; slips, trips, and falls; and prescription painkiller abuse.

Transportation Safety - Distracted Driving

Doing other activities while driving – like texting or eating–distracts you and increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 5 crashes (17%) that injured someone involved distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

According to Distraction.gov, distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driving, passenger and bystander safety. These types of distraction include:

  •    Texting
  •    Using a cell phone or smartphone
  •    Eating and drinking
  •    Talking to passengers
  •    Grooming
  •    Reading, including maps
  •    Using a navigation system
  •    Watching a video
  •    Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

The best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses.

Persuasive facts and Statistics

  • In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involv­ing distracted drivers. This represents a 6.7 percent decrease in the number of fatalities recorded in 2012. Unfortunately, approximately 424,000 people were injured, which is an increase from the 421,000 people who were injured in 2012.
  • As of December 2013, 153.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA)
  • 10% of drivers of all ages under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
  • Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)
  • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
  • A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)

If you don't already think distracted driving is a safety problem, please take a moment to learn more. And, as with everything on Distraction.gov, please share these facts with others.

Got questions? Visit Distraction.gov FAQ.

Take the Distracted Driving Pledge

Distracted driving kills and injures thousands of people each year. I pledge to:

  • Protect lives by never texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  • Be a good passenger and speak out if the driver in my car is distracted.
  • Encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free.

Download the pledge form (MS Word).

More downloads from Distracted.gov (ads, articles, posters, logos and more)


Slips, Trips and Falls

One in 3 older adults falls each year. Many falls lead to broken bones and other health problems. You can make a difference. Find out ways to help reduce the risk of these safety issues.

Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview


Falls - Children

Playground Injuries - Fact Sheet

Protect the Ones You Love - Falls

Prescription Painkiller Abuse and Overdose

Prescription painkiller overdoses are reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, especially among women. About 18 women die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose – more than 4 times as many as back in 1999.

What the Public Needs to Know about the Epidemic (CDC)

Every day 44 people in the U.S. die from overdose of prescription painkillers...and many more become addicted. Talk with your doctor about:

  • The risks of prescription painkillers and other ways to manage your pain.
  • Making a plan on when and how to stop, if a choice is made to use prescription painkillers.
  • Use prescription painkillers only as instructed by your doctor.
  • Store prescription painkillers in a safe place and out of reach of others.

Help prevent misuse and abuse by not selling or sharing prescription painkillers. Never use another person's prescription painkillers.

Get help for substance abuse problems at 1-800-662-HELP.

Call Poison Help 1-800-222-1222 if you have questions about medicines.

An infographic from the National Safety Council shows the effectiveness of various medications and other alternative options for pain relief.

Related Pages:

Understanding the Epidemic

Risk Factors for Prescription Painkiller Abuse and Overdose

Injury Prevention & Control: Prescription Drug Overdose

CDC Publications:

Prescription Painkiller Overdoses - A Growing Epidemic, Especially Among Women

Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the US

Prescription Drug Abuse Help

How to Dispose of Your Leftover Rx Pills

The only option for what to do with leftover Rx pills is to get rid of or dispose of them. Sharing, selling or saving pills for someone else is not an option. There are proper procedures and guidelines that should be followed when getting rid of leftover medications:

Do not flush leftover medication down the toilet. Recent geological studies have found large traces of pharmaceuticals in our public water supply which not only affects the public, but the plants, marine life and environment as a whole.

Many pharmacies are now offering a take-back service. There are over 800 pharmacies in 40 states that participate in the program to help people get rid of their leftover medication, according to the L.A. Times health blog. This is the best option for people needed to dispose of their Rx pills.

You can grind the substance up and mix it with kitty litter or coffee grinds. When it’s time for disposal, you can put the mixture into a plastic, sealed bag and throw it away. Do not however do this for medications such as OxyContin, Demerol or Percocet.

Always make sure to black out any personal information on the prescription pill bottle before you throw it away. Many animal shelters or veterinarian clinics accept donations of empty pill containers.
Source: Prescription Drug Abuse Help