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Motor vehicle accidents in rural vs. urban areas

The chance a driver will be in one of the many deadly motor vehicle accidents that occur in Pennsylvania each day is influenced by where a driver lives. Generally, rural states have a higher highway death rate than urban states because rural roads are more dangerous than urban roads. These assertions are based on new federal data that looked at the number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 people and the number of highway deaths per 100 million miles driven. The report ranked states according to their highway death rate.

Locations like Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts ranked among the safest places to drive in the United States, while places like Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi, and Wyoming were among the most dangerous states to drive. Washington, D.C. had the best highway death rate of 4.8% and Wyoming had the worst highway death rate at 24.6%. Pennsylvania fared slightly better than the national average with a highway death rate of 10%, compared to the national rate was 11%.

The notion that rural roads are more dangerous than urban roads remains true in states with low overall death rates. Rural areas in states that have low overall death rates have twice the rate of deaths as urban areas. Rural roads are more dangerous than urban roads because rural roads have higher speed limits and less safety engineering, like divided highways and slower access to emergency services.

Some traffic safety advocate groups believe the comparisons are misleading and do not accurately reflect the safety of state roads. One such group is the Governors Highway Safety Association. The group believes the type of legal measures a state has is a better indication of road safety. Because Pennsylvania is a good mix of urban and rural driving, our numbers are fairly good, although there is certainly room for improvement.

In the Pittsburgh region, we also have a good mix of rural and urban roadways. Coupled with our varying terrain, Pittsburgh can be a dangerous place to drive, especially in the winter when the weather is poor and the days are short. If you have been injured by another driver, whether in a rural or urban area, call the Pittsburgh motor vehicle accidents attorneys at Dugan & Associates today at 412-922-0800 for a free consultation.

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