The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released statistics showing that nationwide more people are killed on rural roads than in urban areas.  21,000 fatal car accidents occur in rural areas, with only 16,000 in urban cities.  Georgia has 700 fatal accidents in rural with 687 in urban areas.  Tennessee has 607 in rural with 428 in urban areas. 
     Officials list several reasons why this could be true:  less maintanence, missing guard rails, faded yellow lines, more four way stops, flashing lights, sharper curves, and narrower roads.  However, the common belief is that the lower seat belt usage on rural roads is what causes the higher death rate.  Seat belt usage is between 60 and 65 percent on rural roads and 85 percent in urban areas. 
     Studies show seat belt usage saves lives.  They can drastically increase the chances of survival in a serious crash.  Currently the Governor's Office of Highway Safety is working to increase seat belt usage in rural areas of Georgia and Tennessee.
Shane Smith
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