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Are rural areas safer than urban ones in terms of traffic crashes?

| Mar 24, 2021 | Personal Injury

Considering that there is much less traffic, you might assume that rural areas are safer than urban communities when it comes to traffic crashes. While there are small differences in the way people drive in these areas, the rate of fatal accidents is actually higher in rural areas.

We’re considering fatalities because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects detailed information about fatal crashes in its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), whereas less detail is available regarding injuries and property damage.

Here are some of NHTSA’s key findings of rural and urban fatalities in 2018, the most recent year for which full data is available:

  • About 19% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, and rural drivers accounted for about 30% of the total vehicle miles traveled in 2018. However, 45% of all traffic fatalities in 2018 occurred in rural areas.
  • 2018’s fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled indicates that fatalities are twice as common per miles traveled in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • Fatalities caused by speeding occurred in about equal proportions in rural and urban areas.
  • Fatalities caused by alcohol impairment were about equal between rural and urban areas.
  • People in rural areas wear their seat belts at a slightly higher rate (90.1%) than people in urban areas (89.4%). However, 49% of rural passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2018 were unrestrained, versus 45% of urban passenger vehicle occupants.
  • In North Carolina specifically, 59% of fatal motor vehicle crashes occurred in rural areas in 2018.

So it’s a myth that rural areas are much safer in terms of motor vehicle accidents. The truth is a bit more complex.

If you have been hit by another driver in a rural area like Kernersville, these statistics won’t make much of a difference except to confirm what you already know. What’s important to you are the next steps.

How will you provide for your family if you can’t work due to your injuries? How will you pay for the unexpected medical expenses, which might be long-term? Is it possible to hold the other driver accountable for the harm they have done? Can you be compensated for your pain and suffering due to the crash?

If the crash was not your fault, a personal injury claim may be necessary to get the relief you need. Don’t go it alone and never speak with the insurance company until you understand your legal rights. Work with an attorney who understands your concerns and will fight for what’s right in your case.