In 50 developed and developing countries surveyed, motor vehicle accidents represented 40% of all accidental deaths. A WHO study shows that deaths from motor vehicle accidents are increasing in the 15-24 age group. Between 1955-59 and 1970-74 they increased by over 600% in Mexico, 250% in Venezuela and 210% in Chile, a much greater increase than in the developed countries. On the other hand, deaths from other kinds of accident are rising quite slowly, or even standing still. In industrialized and "newly industrialized" countries, accidents are now the main cause of death among women aged up to 34 years and among men aged up to 44. Women again become a high-risk group after the age of 65. Young women mostly suffer in traffic accidents, and men in work accidents. Older women are prey to domestic accidents, usually falls resulting in fracture of the thigh. Home accidents account for about 75% of injuries to people over 65 in the industrialized countries.
So far accidents account for only a small percentage of total deaths in the Third World, but as other causes of death and disability - such as malnutrition and communicable diseases - are gradually overcome, accidents will come to the fore.