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Alabama Drivers Face Increased Risk of Accidents in Rural Areas

Why Rural Accidents Are More Likely To Be Fatal

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New research indicates rural car accidents tend to be more fatal than urban car accidents. This is often due to specific risk factors which drivers can address. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported on the findings of a study into accidents rates in rural v. urban areas. This study reported that, in 2015, 1 in 5 Americans lived in rural areas. Even so, almost 6 in 10 fatal crashes that year occurred on rural roads.

To be clear: The total number of crashes in urban areas was found to be higher, but rural accidents were far more likely to cause fatal injuries. This case was found to be correlated with seat belt use.

Seat belt use was reported to be highest in urban counties and lowest in rural counties, and a significant trend was discovered by which seat belt use decreased as the rurality of the area increased. Seat belt use was also higher in primary enforcement states (in which failure to use a seat belt is a separate offense for which an officer may stop and cite a driver) than secondary enforcement states (in which an officer may only cite a driver for failure to use a seat belt after another violation has been observed).

High speed is also a known risk factor for fatal car accident injuries. The World Health Organization reports that an injury victim is twenty times more likely to die in an impact at 80 kilometers per hour than in an impact at 30 kilometers per hour. And according to the National Transportation Safety Board, auto accidents caused by speeding were responsible for more than 112,500 deaths on the roads of the United States between 2005 and 2014. This is almost equivalent to the number of people who died in alcohol-related car accidents during that same time period. Yet, because speeding receives so much less media coverage and social stigma, it is the subject of much less activism and advocacy. Consumer Affairs reports that speeding-related fatalities are more than three times more likely to occur on local roads than on highways. And indeed, this finding was corroborated by the CDC study, which also found that speeding was more likely to occur in rural areas.

What Can Be Done to Reduce the Severity of Car Accident Injuries

The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a longitudinal review of studies measuring the efficacy of automated enforcement technology programs. Of the dozens of studies reviewed, every single one reported a lower number of crashes after implementation of a speed enforcement technology program. Bloomberg reports that such technologies are widely acknowledged to be an effective deterrent to speeding, but that they are currently only used in fourteen states and the District of Columbia.

Their efficacy has caused the National Transportation Safety Board to recommend that states remove laws prohibiting the use of such technologies. Until then, drivers must accept personal responsibility for traveling at safe speeds. This is also a requirement of Alabama law (See Alabama Code §32-5A-170).

Negligent drivers must be held accountable for their dangerous conduct. Alabama law also entitles injury victims to compensation for their financial losses. Contact our skilled Alabama car accident attorneys and find out how we can help you.

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