Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Colorado Scores a 5 out of 10 on New Injury Prevention Policy Report Card.

Injuries are the leading cause of death for Coloradans and the 3rd leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 - 44.

Each year more than 32,000 Coloradans are hospitalized for injuries and thousands more are treated in emergency rooms and physician’s offices. In addition to the human toll, deaths and hospitalizations from injury have high societal costs. Colorado can reduce the number of injuries and deaths and their associated costs by adopting additional research-based injury prevention policies.

In the new report Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report, developed by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Colorado scored a 5 out of 10 and was 17th for overall death related to injuries. Among the indicators states were graded on are: whether they require bicycle helmets for children, the existence of prescription drug monitoring programs and whether the state has enacted strong laws to prevent teen dating violence.

According to the indicators highlighted in this report Colorado has cause to celebrate and some opportunities to continue reducing death, hospitalization and societal costs due to injuries.

Colorado Policy Strengths include:
  • Booster Seat Law that covers kids up to 8 (2010)
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers
  • People in dating relationships are able to get protection orders
  • Strong Concussion Law (2010)
  • Active Prescription Drug monitoring system
Colorado Policy Opportunities include:
  • Bicycle helmets required for children.
  • Motorcycle helmets for all riders.
  • Primary seat belt law.
Recognizing the opportunity to make a difference, injury prevention and specifically motor vehicle safety, was selected as one of Colorado’s 10 Winnable Battles.

The effective policy strategies recommended by leading national traffic safety organizations, and this report, were adopted by the Colorado Winnable Battles because costly injuries could be significantly reduced if Colorado adopted additional research-based injury prevention policies, and if programs were fully implemented and enforced.