North Carolina’s rural roads are some of the nation’s deadliest

Not only are rural roads deadlier than urban ones, but North Carolina’s rural roads are among the deadliest.

As Reuters reports, rural roads throughout the country suffer from much higher traffic fatality rates than urban roads do. The reasons rural roads tend to be deadlier than urban roads are due to a number of different factors, including lower seatbelt use, less access to health care facilities, and higher per capita rates of speeding and drunk driving. What is particularly alarming for residents of North Carolina, however, is that the state is singled out for having some of the deadliest rural roads in the country.

Rural road fatality rate

One recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that people who lived in areas with low population densities had a much higher chance of being killed in a traffic accident than those who lived in high-density areas. The higher fatality rate in rural areas was despite the fact that actual collisions are much more likely in urban areas.

The study found that in the South, which has a larger rural population than much of the rest of the country, the traffic fatality rate for those living in cities was 6.8 per 100,000 people. However, in rural areas the traffic fatality rate shot up to 29.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

As the News & Observer reports, a separate study by the transportation research group TRIP found that North Carolina's rural roads are especially deadly. There were 885 rural traffic deaths in the state in 2015, which was the third-highest in the nation after Texas and California (both of which also have much larger overall populations). While just 31 percent of North Carolina lives in rural areas, 64 percent of the state's traffic deaths occur on rural roads.

Why is rural driving so deadly?

There are a number of reasons why rural driving is so much deadlier than urban driving. For one, the CDC study found that while seatbelt use was as high as 89 percent in urban areas, it fell to under 75 percent in rural areas. Rural roads also tend to be two lane roads where speeding is particularly easy, which creates more opportunities for head-on crashes at high speeds. On a per capita basis, drunk driving is also more common in rural areas than in cities.

Researchers also believe that because of fewer employment opportunities and higher poverty levels, the vehicles being driven in rural areas are more likely to be older and lack the safety features of newer vehicles. Furthermore, because there are fewer trauma centers in rural areas, it takes longer to reach rural crash victims and get them the medical attention they need.

Personal injury law

For those who have been hurt in a crash it is important to get help as soon as possible. An accident is more than just physically and emotionally devastating; it can be financially challenging as well. Crash victims are often under a lot of stress trying to figure out how they will be able to cover the medical bills, lost income, and vehicle repairs that often arise after their accident. A personal injury attorney can help those who have been hurt in a crash understand what types of compensation may be available to them in order to help ease them of some of that financial burden.