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More passenger vehicle crash fatalities occur in rural areas: study

August 1, 2012

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Washington – The rate of fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles was 2.5 times higher in rural areas than urban areas in 2010, according to a study (.pdf file) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

Researchers analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and found that rural fatalities accounted for 55 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2010, despite only 19 percent of the U.S. population living in rural areas, the report stated. Among other findings:

  • Of the 10,228 people killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2010, 55 percent occurred in rural areas.
  • About two-thirds of speeding-related urban crashes occurred at night, compared with only slightly more than half in rural areas.
  • Rural drivers died at the crash site nearly two-thirds of the time, whereas only about half of urban drivers died at the scene.

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