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Injury Prevention

Injury includes a wide range of health topics, from unintentional injuries, such as car crashes and falls, to intentional injuries, such as assault and suicide. The consequences of injury are not just physical. Many people who suffer an injury may also have mental health and financial problems that can last a lifetime. The good news is that many injuries are preventable. From seat belts to violence prevention programs, injury prevention saves lives.

Why It's Important

  • Mortality statistics alone are only a tip of the iceberg. In 2013, New Mexico hospitals reported 6,463 injury-related hospital admissions.
  • Injuries impact heavily on the use of health services in the state and contribute to major funding pressures.
  • Although injury affects all groups of people, certain behavioral risk factors are closely linked to injury morbidity and mortality. For example, the lack of seatbelt use and alcohol use has been closely linked to transportation injuries.

What Is Known

Data from the New Mexico's Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (NMBVRHS) showed that in 2013:

  • Unintentional injuries accounted for 87.6 deaths per 100,000 in New Mexico.
  • 295 (19.2 per 100,000) New Mexican's died from motor vehicle traffic injuries.

Data from the New Mexico's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 2013:

  • 10.4% of New Mexicans ages 18 and over did not always wear a seatbelt.

According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in 2011:

  • 8% of high school students had never or rarely wore a seat belt when riding in a car driven by someone else. Male students (9.7%) were more likely than female students (6.1%) to say that never or rarely wore seatbelts. Black students (13.6%) were also least likely to wear seatbelts than other race/ethnic groups.
  • Approximately 9.3% of high school students (grade 9-12) stated that they had driven a car or other vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol one of more times during the past 30 days.
  • 25.8% of high school students had ridden in a car or other vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol one or more times during the past 30 days.

Who Is at Risk

Although injuries affect all groups, greater risks for certain types of injuries are associated with age group, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography.

How To Reduce Risk

Structural changes, such as improved roads and better lighting in the medians and improved safety in automobiles have successfully contributed to reducing motor vehicle rates. Research has also behavioral risk reduction, including the enforcement of seatbelts use and blood alcohol limits have had a tremendous impact on reducing transportation related injuries.

How It's Tracked

The New Mexico Department of Health tracks national and state numbers of behavioral injuries through:

  • The New Mexico's Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts: Occupant Protection. 2008 Data. Pub. No. DOT HS 811 160. Available from: http://www-