U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Accident Analysis and Prevention 33 (2001) 455–465.


This report is based upon the results of a national random digit dialed telephone survey in which 943 adults were queried. Subjects reported the proportion of deaths due to motor vehicle crashes, falls, fires/burns, drowning and poisoning that they felt were preventable. On average, respondents believed that 56% of ‘fatal accidents’ were preventable; as were 62% of motor vehicle crash deaths, 53% of fall deaths, 67% of drownings, 62% of fire/burn fatalities and 70% of accidental poisonings. Logistic regression models predicting preventability beliefs differed according to the type of injury event in question, but socio-economic status and perceived alcohol involvement were positive predictors of beliefs related to all of the injuries under study. The ramifications of these findings and future research directions are discussed.