DefinitionDeaths with unintentional injury as the underlying cause of death.
ICD-10 codes: V01-X59, Y85-Y86
Unintentional injuries are commonly referred to as accidents and include poisonings (drugs, alcohol, fumes, pesticides, etc.), motor vehicle crashes, falls, fire, drowning, suffocation, and any other external cause of death.
NumeratorNumber of deaths due to unintentional injury
DenominatorTotal number of persons in the population
Why Is This Important?Unintentional injury was the leading cause of deaths among persons aged 15-44 years and the fourth leading cause among all ages combined in 2020. Unintentional injuries are, for the most part, preventable.
Healthy People Objective: Reduce unintentional injury deathsU.S. Target: 36.4 deaths per 100,000 population
How Are We Doing?In New Jersey, nearly 4,800 deaths were due to unintentional injuries in 2020. These include poisonings, falls, motor vehicle-related fatalities, suffocation, drowning, fire and smoke-related injuries, and others. New Jersey's age-adjusted death rate due to unintentional injury rose sharply between 2014 and 2018 due to a rise in unintentional poisonings but has been relatively stable since then.
In 2019, falls became the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for the first time, while motor vehicle crashes dropped to third. This was due to both a slow decline in motor vehicle-related injuries and a slow increase in fall-related injuries.
In the total population and among each racial/ethnic group, males have much higher death rates than females. In 2020, the age-adjusted death rate due to unintentional injury was highest among Black males followed by White males. County rates per 100,000 population (age-adjusted) ranged from a low of 24.4 in Hunterdon to a high of 105.5 in Cape May.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?The New Jersey age-adjusted death rate due to unintentional injury was 30% below the U.S. rate in 2009, but the gap has disappeared due to the opioid crisis. New Jersey's motor vehicle safety laws likely contribute to the state's continued lower motor vehicle-related death rate. The state's dense population also allows most residents to be in close proximity to hospitals that offer high quality trauma treatment.