In 2007, rural dwellers accounted for just 23 % of America’s population, but constituted 57% of its accident fatalities. In that stark fact is a harsh reality – if you live in a rural area and happen to be involved in an accident, your chances of surviving it are lower than if the accident had occurred in an urban area.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2007, not only did rural areas account for a larger share of traffic accident fatalities, but they also accounted for a larger proportion of both speeding-related and drunk driving accidents. These areas also seem to have more repeat DUI offenders involved in accidents.
As Texas auto accident lawyers, we have the privilege of meeting with people from across the spectrum in Texas every day. This rural versus urban disparity has not exactly escaped us. There are several reasons why there is an imbalance in favor of urban areas, as far as surviving accident fatalities is concerned. For one thing, urban areas do tend to benefit from more favorable public spending in the form of more sobriety checkpoints, DUI crackdowns and other measures that can decrease the risk of drunk driving accidents. Urban areas also tend to see more intensified speed limit crackdowns compared to rural areas.
When accidents occur, rural areas are ill-equipped to prevent serious or fatal injury. Seat belt use is much lower in rural areas than in urban areas, hovering at about 75% compared to a healthy 83% for urban areas in the country. Then, there is the question of trauma care facilities in rural areas. Getting a victim who has been seriously injured in an accident to a trauma care center within an hour after the accident, can mean the difference between life and death for the victim. Unfortunately, as NHTSA statistics spell out, approximately 60% of deaths while the victim was being transported to the hospital occurred in rural areas, compared to 37% of deaths in urban areas.