South Carolina is leading the nation with 95% of their traffic deaths last year (2008) occurring on rural roads. Montana is close behind with 92% of their traffic deaths occurring on rural roads.

The report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that more Americans die on lonely country roads than congested and hostile urban ones. “There are more crashes in urban areas, but fewer of them result in fatalities,” says Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota.

Even in Massachusetts, which has the lowest percentage of rural fatalities, there are more rural deaths per 100 million miles traveled than urban fatalities.

Why is this? Key reasons include, people drive faster on rural roads, rural roads are not as well engineered as urban roads, and behavioral differences including drunken driving and less use of seat belts in rural areas. On top of these factors, critical emergency care takes longer to arrive at rural crash sites. In Montana, the average response time for emergency medical rescue is 80 minutes compared to 15 minutes in Massachusetts.

In South Carolina, 80% of that state’s road deaths involve alcohol. Shame on you South Carolina! Of the 95% of total deaths on these roads, only 15% DO NOT involve alcohol, a sobering statistic. Of course we can't congratulate those dying while sober.

Many states are responding to the rural road accident problem by installing rumble strips, grooves, and raised patterns to alert drivers that they are leaving the pavement. I'm not sure this will help the drunks awaken in time to keep the shiny side up.  In Montana, approximately 75% of their rural crashes are single vehicle crashes. They are installing under and overpasses to allow animals a clear path to cross the roads; another major cause of single vehicle crashes in rural areas.

The next time you are driving in a rural area, stay alert, drive the speed limit, and be aware of drivers around you. One other thing, wear your seat belt and don't drink and drive! Drugs and drunken driving are costing us all way too much grief.

Join us for Away from the Sun, by 3 Doors Down

When you drive distracted you’ll find out it may just end up being your time to meet your maker. And by the same musical group, how about joining in with, It’s Not My Time.

Great pipes on this lead singer.

Music video by 3 Doors Down performing It's Not My Time with Sean Hobbs [Video Producer], Shaun Silva [Video Director] (C) 2008 Universal Republic Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.


Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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