Home Accidents

Among all nonfatal injuries occurring in the home, an estimated 22 to 30 percent involve alcohol, with 10 percent of those injured having a BAL at the legally intoxicated level at the time of the accident. Coroner data suggest that alcohol consumption immediately before a fatal accident occurs more often in deaths from falls and fires than in motor vehicle deaths.

Falls. Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal injuries in the United States (accounting for over 60%) and the second leading cause of fatal accidents, according to Baker, et al (1992). Alcohol's involvement in fatal falls has been found to range from 21 to 48 percent (with an average of 33%) according to Roizen; for nonfatal falls, alcohol's involvement has been estimated from 17 to 53 percent (with an average of 30%). Alcohol may increase the likelihood of a fall as much as sixty times in those well over the legal limit for intoxication, compared with those having no alcohol exposure.

Fires and Burns. Fires and burns are the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the United States, according to Baker and co-workers. Alcohol involvement has been estimated in 12 to 83 percent of these fatalities (with a median value of 46%), and between 0 and 50 percent among nonfatal burn injuries (with a median value of 17%). In a review of studies of burn victims, Hingson and Howland (1993) estimated that about 50 percent of burn fatalities were intoxicated and that alcohol exposure is most frequent among victims of fires caused by cigarettes.

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