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Injury and Violence Free Living

Reducing injury and violence improves physical and emotional health. The leading causes of death from unintentional injury include motor vehicle-related injuries, unintended poisoning (addressed in the “preventing drug abuse and excessive alcohol use” chapter), and falls. Witnessing or being a victim of violence (e.g., child maltreatment, youth violence, intimate partner and sexual violence, bullying, elder abuse) are linked to lifelong negative physical, emotional, and social consequences.

Download and print these recommendations: Injury and Violence Free Living (PDF – 229 KB)

Recommendations: 

  1. Implement and strengthen policies and programs to enhance transportation safety.
  2. Support community and streetscape design that promotes safety and prevents injuries.
  3. Promote and strengthen policies and programs to prevent falls, especially among older adults.
  4. Promote and enhance policies and programs to increase safety and prevent injury in the workplace.
  5. Strengthen policies and programs to prevent violence.
  6. Provide individuals and families with the knowledge, skills, and tools to make safe choices that prevent violence and injuries.

What Can State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Governments Do? 

  • Strengthen and enforce transportation safety policies and programs (e.g., primary seat belt laws, child safety and booster seat laws, graduated driver licensing systems for young drivers, motorcycle helmet use laws, ignition interlock policies).
  • Implement traffic engineering strategies (e.g., sidewalks and pedestrian safety medians) that allow pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users to safely move along and across streets.
  • Implement countermeasures for impaired driving (e.g., alcohol sobriety checkpoints) and enhance enforcement of speeding and other safety regulations.
  • Implement per se drug impairment laws (presence of any illegal drug in one’s system), train law enforcement personnel to identify drugged drivers, and develop standard screening methodologies to detect the presence of drugs.
  • Develop systems to increase access to trauma care.
  • Implement policies to support modifications to the physical environment to deter crime (e.g., crime prevention through environmental design).        

What Can Businesses and Employers Do? 

  • Implement and enforce safety policies for all drivers (e.g., seat belts or restraint use, zero tolerance for distracted driving).
  • Implement comprehensive workplace injury prevention programs that include management commitment, employee participation, hazard identification and remediation, worker training, and evaluation.
  • Expand and improve occupational injury and illness reporting systems.

What Can Health Care Systems, Insurers, and Clinicians Do? 

  • Conduct falls-risk assessments for older adults, including medication review and modification and vision screening.
  • Implement and test models for increasing falls-risk assessments (e.g., physician education, and linkages with community-based services).
  • Include occupational and environmental risk assessment in patient medical history-taking.

What Can Early Learning Centers, Schools, Colleges, and Universities Do? 

  • Encourage youth to use seat belts, bicycle helmets, and motorcycle helmets, and not drive while distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Collect and report statistics on crimes that occur and result in injuries on or around campuses and issue timely warnings to campus communities about crimes that may threaten safety and health.
  • Implement policies, practices, and environmental design features to reduce school violence and crime (e.g., classroom management practices, cooperative learning techniques, student monitoring and supervision, limiting and monitoring access to buildings and grounds, performing timely maintenance).

What Can Community, Non-Profit, and Faith-Based Organizations Do? 

  • Promote safer and more connected communities that prevent injury and violence (e.g., by designing safer environments, fostering economic growth).
  • Build public awareness about preventing falls, promote fall prevention programs in home and community settings, and educate older adults on how to prevent falls.
  • Implement programs that assist juveniles and adults who are re-entering their communities following incarceration that support their returning to school, securing employment, and leading healthy lifestyles.

What Can Individuals and Families Do? 

  • Refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while drowsy or distracted (e.g., texting).
  • Use seat belts, bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets, and protective sports gear.
  • Establish clear expectations and consequences with teenagers about safe driving, including speeding, seat belt use, alcohol-or drug-impaired driving, and distracted driving.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to increase strength and balance to help prevent falls.