More people than ever are dying accidental deaths, according to the latest analysis from the National Safety Council.

Drug addict
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Preventable injuries or accidents claimed 136,053 lives in 2014 — an all-time high and a 57 percent increase since 1992.

According to the 2016 Injury Facts report, preventable injuries such as drowning, motor vehicles crashes and drug overdoses are now the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease.

While national figures are available for the year 2014, statistics on the state level come from 2013.

That year in New Jersey, 3,028 people died accidentally, the National Safety Council said. New Jersey's rate of unintentional death was 34 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to a rate of 41.3 nationwide.

"New Jersey does particularly well regarding motor vehicle safety, as well as preventing fall deaths," said the council's Ken Kolosh.

But where New Jersey struggles is in the category of poisonings, which is driven heavily by drug overdoses.

"Heroin deaths are particularly a problem for New Jersey with the death rate far higher in New Jersey than national averages," Kolosh said.

As New Jersey takes on an opioid abuse epidemic, a study released Tuesday by Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey noted nearly one in three parents of New Jersey middle school students do not believe there is a link between painkillers and the use of heroin in New Jersey.

On the national level, the categories of poisonings, falls and firearms caused the biggest spikes in preventable deaths over a year's time, but firearms are still not a top-10 leading cause of deadly injuries.

After poisonings, the leading causes of accidental death in New Jersey include motor vehicle crashes and falls, the National Safety Council said.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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