According to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths related to car accidents is greater in rural areas than it is in urban ones. The results of the study suggests that it is safer to drive in urban, Santa Clara County than it is to drive in Santa Clara County's southern and more rural neighbor county, San Benito County. The authors of the study say the difference in fatality rates between rural and urban areas is urban sprawl.
Motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of death in the U.S. In 2009, car accidents caused the deaths of nearly 34,500 people. According to the latest information released by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC death rates due to car crashes are lower in urban areas than rural areas. The study found that the death rate related to car accidents in urban areas was 8.2 per 100,000 residents, and in rural areas it was 11.1 per 100,000 residents. Although the 50 most populous metro areas of the U.S. are home to more than half of the population, urban areas account for only 40 percent of motor vehicle deaths.
The study also found that the rate of motor vehicle deaths is associated with urban development. The more urban development the fewer deadly car accidents there are. However, urban development is growing most rapidly in traditionally rural areas like the South instead of already urbanized places. The authors of the study say urban planners should factor car-related deaths in the plans of growing areas.
San Francisco and Oakland are among the safest places to drive and so are Boston and New York City. Areas that have a higher than average rate of death related to car accidents are Orlando, Memphis and Glendale, Arizona.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Vehicle Crash Death Rates Are Lower in Urban Areas, CDC Says," Nika Soon-Shiong, July 21, 2012
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