ATLANTA, May 11 (UPI) -- U.S. officials say motor vehicle crash deaths cost the country $41 billion a year in medical and work-loss costs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released a report Wednesday that says half of this cost was in just 10 states -- California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee -- based on 2005 data.
"Deaths from motor vehicle crashes are preventable," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, says in a statement. "Seat belts, graduated driver's license programs, child safety seats and helmet use save lives and reduce healthcare costs."
To prevent crash-related deaths, the CDC's Injury Center recommends states consider:
-- Primary seat belt laws, which allow motorists to be stopped and cited for not wearing seat belts.
-- Strong states policies requiring children to be placed in age- and size-appropriate child safety and booster seats while riding in vehicles.
-- Graduated driver licensing systems, proven to reduce teen crashes by up to 40 percent among 16-year-olds.
-- Universal laws requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Helmets can reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by more than one-third and reduce the risk of brain injury by 69 percent.