One might think serious or fatal crashes would be more likely to occur in the hustle and bustle of a larger city, where the traffic is more condensed and the population is greater.
But that’s an erroneous assumption, according to a recent report by the AAA Carolinas.
As our Greensboro crash injury lawyers understand it, the four most dangerous counties in the state are all mostly characterized as rural. They include: Pitt, New Hanover, Person and Watauga Counties. Each of those averaged more than 250 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
Pitt, where Greenville is located, has topped that last for five years running. The other things these locations have in common? With the exception of Person, they are all college towns. Officials there report during the school year an increase of DUI-related crashes, distracted driving incidents, driver fatigue and pedestrian and bicycle-related incidents.
Given that the school year has just begun, it’s an important time to talk about these potential dangers and to educate the student body in particular.
The fact that rural roads are rated as the most dangerous isn’t entirely a surprise. It follows a consistent pattern we’ve seen both statewide and nationally. A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates approximately 56 percent of all traffic fatalities occur in rural areas, even though these locations are home to just 23 percent of the population. In some states, rural crashes account for 90 percent of highway deaths. Drivers on urban roads travel twice as many miles, and yet suffer half as many fatal crashes.
There are a number of explanations for this. The first is that those traveling on rural thoroughfares tend to drive faster. They are also more likely to drive without seat belts, and also more likely to drive while intoxicated. Also, there is a higher risk that wild animals may dart out into the road and cause a wreck. Plus, there tends to be a greater diversity of vehicle types, including tractor trailers, which can cause serious damage in the event of a wreck. And there is an accident with serious injuries in a rural setting, it can take emergency medical officials much longer to get out there – that’s even if they receive immediate notification.
As AAA Carolina reports, Pitt County had by far the most crashes in the state, with an average of 318 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The second, Hanover County, came in with 293 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In terms of the county most likely for a driver in North Carolina to sustain injury, that’s Graham County, followed by Pitt. The counties that tallied the most fatal crashes were Graham, Alleghany, Alexander, Bladen and Vance. Those locations combined counted 40 traffic deaths, despite accounting for just 2 percent of the state’s total vehicle miles traveled.
It’s also worth noting North Carolina ranks third in the nation – behind Texas and California – for the most non-interstate rural road traffic deaths. In 2012, there were 844 fatalities.
Contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Where In NC Are You Most Likely To Be In A Car Accident? Aug. 15, 2014, WUNC News
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Correa v. Estate of Hascall – Car Accident Lawsuit Against Estate of Deceased, Aug. 13, 2014, Greensboro Car Accident Lawyer Blog