Where are car accidents most likely to happen?
West Alabama has some heavily congested traffic areas which match many urban areas. But there are also many miles of rural stretches. So, you may be wondering where are car accidents most likely to happen. It’s all in the statistics.
While traveling by automobile would seem safer as enhanced safety features improve, statistics say otherwise.
From 2011 to 2020, the number of fatal crashes increased 19.8%.
Recently, the number of fatal crashes has increased by 6.8% from 2019 to 2020, while the estimated number of police-reported crashes fell by 22.3%.
A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first half of 2022 shows that an estimated 20,175 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
This represents a marginal increase of about 0.5% as compared to 20,070 fatalities projected to have occurred in the first half of 2021.
This also represents the highest number of fatalities during the first half of the year since 2006.
However, the second quarter of 2022 represents the first decline in fatalities after seven consecutive quarters of year-to-year increases in fatalities, beginning with the third quarter of 2020.
Where are these accidents happening?
Fifty-five out of Alabama’s 67 counties are considered rural, but we all know how very rural even our most populous counties are. Over 43% of Alabamians live in rural areas. Many more drive through them.
In 2020, 43% of motor vehicle traffic fatalities occurred in rural areas, 56% in urban areas, and 1% in areas of unknown land use.
Fatalities in rural areas increased by 2%, and by 9% in urban areas.
According to the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey (the latest data available), an estimated 19 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, 31% of the total vehicle miles traveled in 2020 were in rural areas. However, rural areas accounted for 43% of all traffic fatalities.
In 2020 the fatality rate was 1.7 times higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
What other factors were involved in these accidents?
In 2020, of the traffic fatalities occurring in rural areas, 28% were speed-related crashes, and 30% involved alcohol-impaired driving (an increase of 9% in rural areas and 17% in urban areas.)
The 2020 National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) observed that the seat belt use rate among front-seat passenger vehicle occupants in urban areas was 90.5 percent, and rural occupants were observed to have a use rate of 89.9 percent.
Based on known restraint use in fatal crashes, 52% of rural passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020 were unrestrained as compared to 49% of urban passenger vehicle occupants killed.