Gun violence overtook car accidents as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the US in 2020, according to a report from the University of Michigan.
The finding was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday as part of longer term research effort from the university’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention (IFIP).
An analysis of mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed a nearly 30% increase in gun-related deaths among Americans up to age 19 between 2019 and 2020, the researchers said. These deaths include incidents of suicide, accidental shootings and homicides, with homicides outpacing the other two categories.
“This tells us that it’s a worsening problem in the U.S., and I mean the most recent data suggests that the trend is actually accelerating,” Jason Goldstick, research associate professor at the University of Michigan and co-author of the letter, told USA TODAY.
“If you look at other other countries, it’s not even comparable. The risk of firearm violence in other countries is not even in in the same league as it is in the United States.”
Co-author of the report, Patrick Carter, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan, said vehicle deaths have fallen because research to make roads safer.
“Changing behavior, improving the safety of the vehicle, improving the roads and educating our drivers better, that’s all through evidence-based-driven research,” Carter said. “What we have seen with firearms is that we haven’t been able to, until just recently, been able to apply that same type of evidence-based research to the problem of firearms.”