For years now, decades really, the auto industry has had a dirty little not-so-secret: they’re the best around at killing children. You might not realize this, as they do everything they can to soften the blow, but based on all available research, cars have been killing kids with relentless and remorseless enthusiasm for as long as anyone can remember. I was discussing this trend recently with a friend of mine at a used truck dealership, and he laughed when I brought up this little bit of trivia. He nudged me and said, “You must’ve not seen the most recent info, eh?” Well, I hadn’t, he was right, and it’s a big moment for the auto industry. Guns have finally started killing more kids than motor vehicles. What a time to be alive!
Twenty Years of Trending Downward
Although you can certainly go back further, all you have to do is look back even 20 years and you’ll see that the auto industry has been killing children like it was their business. Back in 1999, motor vehicle crashes among children and adolescents (folks between 1 and 19 years of age) accounted for more than 10 deaths per 100,000 children and adolescents. By comparison, firearm-related injuries came in second and accounted for less than 4.5 deaths per 100,000, and drug overdose and poisoning just 0.5 deaths per 100,000. You can see that car crashes weren’t just the top thing killing children, but they were at the top by a huge margin.
Over the last 20 years, however, motor vehicle crash numbers have been going down as groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have pushed for greater safety features and regulations on cars. Whether the auto industry liked it or not, they had to put a huge amount of research and effort into making cars safer, but the results speak for themselves. By 2010 the numbers were down to about 5.5 deaths per 100,000 children and adolescents, and in 2019 they were down to about 4.5 deaths per 100,000.
The Big Jump for Firearms
That takes us to 2020 and the magical year for the auto industry. Even though numbers began to go back up, motor vehicle crashes accounted for about 5.0 deaths per 100,000 children and adolescents in 2020, they were finally eclipsed by gun deaths. That’s right, folks, it’s the American dream in action: anything you want to be, you can be. And the gun industry has become number one in the US at killing kids.
Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all of this data has been tracked over the decades, gun deaths among kids spiked by nearly 30% in 2020 from the previous year and hit an all-time high of more than 5.5 deaths per 100,000 children and adolescents. Admittedly, that’s not a huge margin, but it’s a win for the auto industry nevertheless. It’s worth noting that it’s not just kids getting in on the action: firearm homicides jumped by more than 33% from 2019 to 2020.
What Does This Mean?
Since motor vehicle crashes have been killing more children than anything else for so many decades, it’s no wonder that such harsh regulations and safety standards have been imposed on the auto industry. Now, with this revelation, I assume we’ll see similar regulations and government crackdowns on the gun industry with new laws passed to ensure higher safety standards to protect children. Otherwise, it would display a massive double-standard between car safety and gun safety in this country, and I simply can’t imagine such a thing!
Editor’s Note: The one bright spot we can see for the gun industry is that drug overdose and poisoning deaths also spiked from 2019 to 2020 by a massive 83.6% to become the third-leading cause of death among children. According to the CDC, this huge uptick is “largely explained by the 110.6% increase in unintentional poisonings from 2019 to 2020.” All the gun industry needs is for more adults to be reckless with bleach and other cleaners around kids, and they’ll soon be in second place once again. Thank you.