As a Missouri car accident lawyer, I frequently handle auto accident cases that occur on rural roads and 2 lane state highways. These roadways have traditionally been at the highest risk for fatal accidents. New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that rural traffic safety continues to be a major concern in Missouri.
The data comes from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and shows that in 2007, rural areas accounted for approximately 56 % of fatal auto accidents, and 57% of fatalities. This is significant when you consider that only about 23% of the US population lived in the rural parts of the country. In fact, rural areas lead not just in the total number of fatalities, but also in the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
The study also reveals that rural areas lead both in fatal speeding-related accidents and fatal alcohol-related accidents. Rural areas accounted for 57% of drunk driving accident fatalities in 2007, compared to urban areas which accounted for 43% of the fatalities. Rural areas also seem to have higher numbers of drivers in fatal accidents who already have previous DUI convictions. That means that the incidence of repeat drunk driving is much greater in rural areas.
As a highway safety lawyer who handles Missouri drunk driving accidents, I am in favor of increased rural area law enforcement. At present, there are very few anti-drunk driving crackdowns and sobriety checkpoints in rural areas of the state. This, coupled with greater efforts with regard to speed limit enforcement, would make a real difference in rural highway fatalities. Rural High School education and awareness campaigns would be effective in curbing the problem of young and reckless drivers.