For Release: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC–A new Violence Policy Center (VPC) analysis (vpc.org/studies/dmv.pdf) of just-released federal firearm and motor vehicle deaths data reveals that gun deaths outpace motor vehicle deaths in the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia). The analysis, which uses the most recent complete data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, reveals that in 2010–
- Gun deaths in the DMV totaled 1,512 while motor vehicles deaths totaled 1,280.
- In the District of Columbia there were 99 firearm deaths reported in 2010, 84 of which were identified as homicides and 13 of which were identified as suicides. That same year, there were 38 motor vehicle deaths in the District.
- In Maryland, there were 538 firearm deaths reported in 2010, 306 of which were identified as homicides and 222 of which were identified as suicides. That same year, there were 514 motor vehicle deaths in the state.
- In Virginia, there were 875 firearm deaths reported in 2010, 271 of which were identified as homicides, 576 of which were identified as suicides, and 13 of which were identified as unintentional deaths. That same year, there were 728 motor vehicle deaths in the state.
Nationally, there were 31,672 firearm deaths reported in 2010. That same year there were 35,498 motor vehicle deaths nationwide.
Motor vehicle deaths are on the decline as the result of a successful decades-long public health-based injury prevention strategy that includes safety-related changes to vehicles and highway design informed by comprehensive data collection and analysis. Meanwhile, firearms are the only consumer product not regulated by the federal government for health and safety.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “The gun and motor vehicle fatality statistics in the DMV offer a stark illustration of a public health emergency that often receives scant attention from policymakers. Firearms remain the only consumer product not regulated by a federal health and safety agency, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has overseen automobile safety since 1966. Nationally, firearm fatalities are approaching motor vehicle deaths despite the fact that roughly three times as many Americans own automobiles as own firearms.”
The study offers a series of policy recommendations to improve data collection on firearms violence, increase regulation of the firearms industry, and reduce gun death and injury. The study specifically recommends that the neighboring jurisdictions of the DMV “could cooperate to track illegally trafficked firearms and identify the sources of such weapons.”