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Two surprising factors account for traffic fatalities in Alabama

Across the United states, there were 35,092 deaths as the result of motor vehicle crashes in 2015. The figures, provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, cited a number of causes, including alcohol, lack of seatbelt use and speeding. Here in Alabama, those factors are definitely contributors to the state’s high rate of traffic deaths, but there are two other factors involved.

Rural roads are settings for disaster

If you are driving on a country road in Alabama, you might think that because you are well away from traffic congestion, you are considerably safer. Think again. Out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Alabama has the seventh-highest fatality rate among vehicle occupants in traffic crashes. Part of the reason for these deaths has to do with rural locations. While victims of metropolitan crashes are close to hospitals, the same cannot be said for people in rural crashes. Many hospitals in outlying areas have closed, and a portion of those that remain have reduced their services. It takes longer for EMTs to reach accident victims on a country road and a longer drive to a hospital where the type of injuries sustained can be treated. Given these facts, it is easy to understand why statistics gathered by the Alabama Rural Health Association show that the mortality rate for those injured in a rural setting is 56 percent higher than for those in an urban crash.

Lack of education contributes to the statistics

For Alabamians 25 years of age and older, the death rate overall, meaning death from every cause, is twice as high for people with less than a ninth-grade education. For this group, the motor vehicle fatality rate is 50.6 percent. By comparison, the rate for college graduates is dramatically lower at 10.4 percent.

One other ongoing problem

A drunk driver is responsible for about one out of three traffic fatalities across the country. Nationally, 2012 studies by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show that 1.9 percent of adults reported driving when they have been drinking too much. In Alabama, that figure was 1.7 percent. While it is hoped that you are never in an accident caused by a drunk driver — and especially not in the middle of nowhere — you should reach out for legal assistance if the unexpected happens. An experienced personal injury attorney is standing by to help.