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Are road injuries an epidemic? New report says yes.

Getting behind the wheel or buckling up in a car has risks. Even taking a walk or riding a bicycle along a roadway has risks - but do we truly understand just how dangerous the roadways can be?

According to some experts, injuries related to car accidents are more than just dangerous, they have become an epidemic.

An epidemic? Isn't that a bit of an exaggeration?

In order to fully understand how experts are applying this term, it is helpful to review its definition. The term epidemic is often correlated with infectious diseases. The true definition is a bit broader. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term as:

[A]ffecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time

With this definition in mind, let's look at some data.

A publication funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and recently reviewed in a report by Forbes found that road injuries are one of the top ten causes of global death. This study found fatalities connected to road injuries were comparable with deaths due to heart attacks and strokes.

Take a moment to let that soak in - car accidents lead to injuries that result in so many fatalities that they are considered one of the top causes of death in the world.

What can be done?

One of the most important things drivers can do to end this epidemic is to actively pay attention to the road. Distracted driving practices increase the risk of involvement in an accident. This includes everything from playing the Pokémon Go! app on your cellphone to yelling at kids in the backseat.

It is also important that those who are injured in an accident take the situation seriously. Seek medical attention if needed and keep records of the injuries and treatments. If the accident was the result of another's negligence, compensation can be available to help cover these costs through a personal injury lawsuit.

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