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Most European Union (EU) countries have enjoyed a downward trend in age-standardized unintentional injury mortality, making the Union one of the safest places to live worldwide.1 Yet, injury ranks fourth among all causes of death and first in years of potential life lost.2 The considerable variation in injury mortalities noted among the EU member states, ranging from 17/100 000 in countries such as the UK and the Netherlands to 100/100 000 in Latvia and Estonia, also points to opportunities for prevention. It has been estimated that 73 000 of the 165 000 annual unintentional injury deaths in the industrialized EU Region could be avoided were all member states to adopt policies and practices implemented in EU countries with the best injury-prevention records.3
Human behavior has been identified as an exclusive or partial contributor to the causation of the vast majority of injury. In contemporary societies, injury prevention has relied preferentially on passive safety, with considerable attention paid to the identification of environmental risk factors and the development of effective safety technologies. Airbags, for instance, have been shown to …