Decades of traffic accident research have provided Virginia drivers with insight into the risk factors for experiencing car accidents. Research also reveals risk factors for fatal injuries. This allows drivers to mitigate the damage of car accident injuries through simple safety measures. Now, new research has identified another risk factor for the severity of car accident injuries. Rural accidents have recently been discovered to be more injurious - and lead to more fatalities - than urban accidents. Learn more about research, and what you can do to prevent car accident injuries. And after any type of traffic accident, contact an experienced Roanoke car accident attorney as soon as possible, to ensure you receive the full legal compensation to which you are entitled.
Why Injuries Are More Fatal to Rural Car Accident Victims
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that rural car accidents tend to be more dangerous than urban car accidents. Specifically, the researchers found that while accident rates are higher in urban areas, rural accidents were 2.6 times more likely to result in fatal injuries. A number of contributing factors were also identified by the study.
Urban traffic accident fatality victims were slightly more likely to be wearing seat belts than rural victims. This is consistent with previous research, which had found that self-reported seat belt use was highest in urban counties and lowest in rural counties. Seat belt use has long been shown to be correlated with the severity of injuries sustained in a car accident. There is no longer a question of whether seat belts save lives. They do.
Those who aren't wearing seat belts can still collect damages for their injuries, but defendants may try to argue injuries would have been less substantial had plaintiff or decedent been properly buckled.
Speed, too, has long been known to increase the severity of injuries sustained in a car accident. Speeding is also more common in fatal crashes in rural areas. This is yet another critical reason why rural traffic accidents are more likely to be fatal.
What Virginia Drivers Can Do to Prevent Rural Car Accident Injuries
The encouraging news from this study is that rural accidents do not have to result in fatalities. With simple safety measures, the risk of sustaining fatal injuries in an accident can be mitigated effectively. Seat belt use and driving at safe speeds are more than simple suggestions: they are required by Virginia law. Section 46.2-1094 of the Code of Virginia requires drivers and front seat passengers over the age of eighteen to wear seat belts. There are very limited exceptions to this law (such as a medical condition, documented by a licensed physician, which precludes seat belt use). Section 46.2-861 requires drivers to not to exceed a “reasonable speed” under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit. This means that a driver can be cited for speeding even if he or she was travelling at the posted speed limit.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of traffic accident, be sure to contact an experienced Roanoke car accident attorney. You have the legal right to be compensated for your injuries and losses.