According to a new report, South Carolina ranks among the deadliest states for deaths due to injury–whether from accidents or violence. The study, titled The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report, was recently released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and focused on key steps that states can take to reduce the number of injury deaths. The report looked at each state, ranking them on a 10 to 0 scale, with states receiving one point for each of 10 policies that could improve safety. Two states, California and New York, scored nine out of the possible 10 points, and had the best overall ratings, according to the authors. South Carolina, on the other hand, scored only three out of 10 points. Only two states, Montana and Ohio, scored worse.
According to the Trust, South Carolina has almost 72 injury-related deaths for every 100,000 residents each year. The national average is about 58 deaths per 100,000 people. The number of injury-related fatalities means South Carolina also loses an estimated $26.3 million each year due to special kinds of medical costs related to these fatal injuries. Across the nation, about 50 million people in the U.S. are treated for injuries each year. It is the third leading cause of death in America, and, for Americans between the ages of one and 44 it is the leading cause of death. In total, injuries generate about $406 billion in lifetime medical costs and lost productivity each year, the Trust says.
The report looked at 10 different policies, ranging from seatbelt laws to teen dating violence and prescription drug abuse, which the Trust says have a growing amount of research behind each of them showing that they improve safety and help prevent accidents and violence. According to the report scorecard for South Carolina, the state uses only three of the ten policies. The policies that gained South Carolina points include seat belt laws, a prescription drug monitoring program, and a system that regulates how hospitals document and track the causes of injuries they treat.