Cities often have busy streets with countless intersections, traffic signals, honking horns, high-volume traffic jams, buses and other large modes of public transportation, and more. You can also add to the heavy traffic a substantial number of individuals riding bicycles, scooters, or simply walking on or near roadways alongside the motor vehicles. When you picture such a city scene, it is not difficult to assume that a far greater amount of motor vehicle accidents occur in urban areas than in other parts of the country. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published data that shows otherwise. Instead, the statistics demonstrate that more motor vehicle accident and injuries take place on roads in more rural areas of the country.
Data for Rural v. Urban Accidents
Information reported in the United States Census in 2010 indicates that an estimated 19 percent of individuals in the U.S. reside in regions that would be considered rural. While 19 percent is definitely the minority, NHTSA data states that more than half of all fatal motor vehicle accidents happen on roads in these rural regions. In a single year in 2012, more than 18,000 people lost their lives in traffic-related accidents in rural areas compared with just over 15,000 fatalities on urban roadways. These surprising statistics demonstrate that, despite common conceptions regarding the dangers of urban roads, motorists in rural areas have a higher risk of suffering severe or even fatal injuries in motor vehicle accidents.
Reasons for rural accidents
There are several reasons why auto accidents occur with relative frequency, some of which include the following:
- Risky roads – Roads in rural areas tend to be more dangerous than urban roads simply because they work around the landscape of the area. Roads are often designed with many hills and curves, many of which make it difficult or impossible to see oncoming traffic. These roads generally do not include a shoulder that may allow a driver to pull over if they are having car trouble or to swerve onto to avoid a collision if necessary. Rural roads tend to be less regularly maintained and therefore may contain more potholes and other hazards.
- Speeding – Even though many rural highways have only two lanes, speed limits tend to be much higher and are often set at 55 miles per hour or more. Cars driving at this speed around the aforementioned curves and hills can easily lead to collisions. Furthermore, drivers are more likely to speed in rural areas that have less law enforcement patrolling the area.
- Drinking and driving – Driving under the influence of alcohol is notoriously a bigger issue in rural regions. This is partially due to the lack of police presence, but also due to the lack of other options for transportation such as cabs, buses, or subways. Designated drivers and carpooling are less likely because friends often live long distances away from one another in rural areas. When drunk driving increase, so does the risk for serious accidents and injuries.
In addition to the above reasons for the higher frequency of accidents, rural motorists are less likely to fasten the seat belts. This means that victims often suffer more serious injuries should an accident occur.
Contact an experienced Clearwater, Florida auto accident attorney for a free initial consultation
Florida tort law gives victims of motor vehicle accidents the legal right to recover for their accident-related losses from any party whose negligence contributed to the accident. This right exists whether your accident took place on an urban street or an isolated rural highway. Furthermore, anyone who has lost a family member in a fatal motor vehicle accident has the right to compensation under state wrongful death laws.
The experienced car accident lawyers at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Clearwater have the knowledge and resources necessary to handle any type of motor vehicle accident case for either personal injury or wrongful death. We can evaluate your situation to determine if you have a valid claim and will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. Please call our office for a free consultation at 727-451-6900 today to learn how we can help you recover.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756