AAA Carolinas Reports NC Rural Roads Continue to See Most Car Crashes
Considering the overall confusion experienced by most drivers in major cities during rush hour, it is natural to expect the greatest number of traffic collisions to occur on urban roads. In North Carolina, however, while pedestrian accidents occur at a greater rate in urban areas, four urban counties have beaten state averages for motor vehicle accidents. Since this is not a contest that any county wants to win, rural drivers need to understand the reasons behind the numbers and how they can avoid becoming a future statistic.
A Look at the 2012 Numbers
As part of the ranking process, AAA Carolinas computed the average number of car crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. According to a report by North Carolina Public Radio, the entire state averages 205 crashes, but the following four counties significantly exceeded that number:
- Pitt (307)
- New Hanover (287)
- Person (267)
- Watauga (259)
A Number of Explanations for High Accident Rates
The AAA Carolinas report did not look into the cause of the crashes in the four counties; however, they offered likely theories based on national rural car crash data, including the following:
- College towns: First, all four counties have college towns, which may indicate a younger, less-experienced driver population. Unfortunately, college students have an increased likelihood of taking risks, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, using cell phones or drowsy driving.
- Road conditions: Where urban roads are specifically designed for high traffic volume that includes individuals who may not be familiar with local traffic, rural roads are not typically well-maintained. They may also be curvy and poorly-lit, and signs and other road markings may be limited.
- Limited police presence: Police do not monitor rural traffic as diligently as they monitor urban roads. Drivers can speed, drive while impaired or otherwise take advantage of this type of perceived freedom. Unfortunately, police and other emergency personnel may not be readily available to save lives in the event of the single-vehicle accidents that are common on rural roads.
In 2012, the Southern Environmental Law Center issued a report that assessed rural North Carolina’s most important transportation needs. Citing the fact that more than one-third of the state’s population resides in rural areas, the report recommended a change in focus from building new road capacity to safety considerations. At the time of the report, nearly half of rural roads were in poor, mediocre or fair condition while urban roads showed adequate performance. As such, the report recommendations seem fair and sensible.
How an Experienced Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer can Help
Until such time when rural roads become safer, drivers need to be vigilant to avoid the risks associated with driving on them. Still, it is not likely that anyone can avoid every possible car crash and auto accidents in rural areas can be quite complex, given the chances that poorly-maintained roadways might contribute to a loss of control.
In the event of a rural traffic collision, it is particularly important to seek advice from a lawyer with the skills and resources to investigate accidents and identify all liable parties, even local municipalities. Call us at 800-948-0577, or use our convenient online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation and learn how we can help.