May is Trauma Awareness Month May is Trauma Awareness Month
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

May is Trauma Awareness Month. The purpose of this national observance is to call attention to trauma and what must be done to reduce its impact on the lives of people. This year’s theme, “Teens and Alcohol,” focuses on the need to educate communities about the consequences of underage drinking.

The Problem

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in the first four decades of life. Motor vehicle crashes account for the greatest number of these deaths (WISQARS 2006).

At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers (IIHS 2004).

In 2003, 25% of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08 g/dl or higher (NHTSA 2004a).

In a national survey conducted in 2003, 30% of teens reported that within the previous month, they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. One in eight reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the same one-month period (CDC 2004).

In 2003, among teen drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving, 74% were unrestrained (NHTSA 2004b).


Injury and violence are serious threats to the health and well-being of children and adolescents in the United States. Children and adolescents are at high risk for many injuries that can lead to death or disability. In addition to the human tragedy represented by these injuries, economic consequences occur. In 2000, the injuries incurred by children and adolescents age 14 and younger will have lasting impacts including total lifetime economic costs exceeding $50 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity (Finkelstein 2006).

To learn more about Trauma Awareness Month, visit American Trauma Society.

To learn about CDC’s research or other activities to improve U.S. trauma care systems, visit the Injury Center website.