Most Americans today live in areas categorized as suburban or urban. Rural areas are sparsely populated and more spread out than urban and suburban areas. While this causes rural areas to have far less motor vehicle traffic, drivers are actually more likely to be killed in a rural setting. Some of this disparity can be explained by significant differences between rural and urban living.


Often times, rural drivers must travel much farther than urban drivers to commute to everyday destinations like the workplace, banks or the grocery store. This reality leaves rural drivers more exposed to the dangers of vehicular travel. Rural roadways often have higher posted speed limits and the roadways tend to be windy, with less visibility. At night, these roadways may not be well lit. Additionally, because of the sparsely populated roadways, other drivers and obstacles can catch rural drivers off guard. Police forces in rural communities tend to be smaller than urban police forces because the population is smaller. This can make it more difficult for rural police forces to enforce traffic laws and thereby deter problem drivers. Additionally, it can take significantly more time for medical personnel to reach rural victims of motor vehicle accidents or to transfer them to proper medical facilities.


Each of these factors contributes to a significantly higher fatality and injury rate for rural motor vehicle accident victims. The consequences of a motor vehicle crash can be catastrophic to both the victim and the victim’s family. Often times, victims are saddled with millions of dollars in medical costs. This is particularly true in rural settings, where transportation of victims to medical facilities can be arduous and costly. Motor vehicle crash victims who survive an accident can still face debilitating traumatic brain injuries that can affect the victim’s ability to function normally in their daily life. Thus, victims of motor vehicle accidents may be entitled to significant recovery.


The U.S. National Highway Safety Administration found that rural fatalities in motor vehicle accidents accounted for 55 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2010. According to the U.S. Census, only 19 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas in 2010. Victims of motor vehicle crashes in rural settings face a significant danger of death compared to similar victims in urban settings.


In 2010, the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration found that over 60 percent of fatal crashes occurred when the posted speed limit was 55 mph or higher. Rural communities tend to have less populated roads, and thus, are more likely to have posted speed limits of 55 mph or higher. Often times these roads are two lane roads with far less visibility than roads in urban and suburban settings. Therefore, on a daily basis, rural drivers face driving conditions that are more dangerous than those faced by urban drivers.


In order to minimize the chance of being killed or seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration recommends the use of safety belts. In 2010, 53 percent of rural motor vehicle accident victims were unrestrained. Additionally, nearly 65 percent of rural pickup tuck occupants killed were unrestrained. The use of a safety belt can significantly reduce the consequences of motor vehicle accidents.


If you or someone you know has been hurt or killed in a motor vehicle accident, call a Coweta County auto accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770)-484-8999 and ask to schedule a free legal consultation.

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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