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Rural vs. Urban Areas: Where Are You More At-Risk?

Does Location Influence Accident Risk?

According to the Utah Department of Health, only 5 of the 29 recognized counties in the state are considered “urban,” with the others being classified as rural or frontier. These distinctions are based on population density: urban has greater than 100 people per square mile, rural has less than 99, and frontier has less than 6. Overall, urban counties make up about 80% of the state’s population.

However, it may be surprising to learn that just because urban areas have higher populations does not mean that crash severity will be greater. In fact, the likelihood that you will sustain fatal injuries in a crash dramatically increases in rural areas**.

Rural vs. Urban Crashes

The Utah Department of Public Safety (UDPS) released crash summaries in 20062013, and 2018 showing how these rates have changed over time. In each, urban areas had significantly higher overall crash rates, but rural areas had higher rates of fatal crashes. While the number of fatal crashes is nearly equal, it’s important to acknowledge what this means when compared to overall crash rates. As of 2018, rural crashes were 2.8 times more likely to be fatal (although this has decreased from 3.5 in 2006).

Why Are Fatal Crashes More Common in Rural Areas?

There are several reasons why rural areas may experience higher rates of fatal crashes. For starters, the terrain and increased wildlife presence causes unique hazards on the roadways that aren’t as common in more urbanized counties. Along with this, drivers and passengers in rural areas are 3.4 times more likely to not be using a safety restraint at the time of the crash. According to the UDPS, unrestrained vehicle occupants are nearly 14 times more likely to be fatally injured.

Another aspect to consider is access to emergency medical services. A 2017 study found that with longer emergency response times comes a higher chance that someone will die in a car accident. It went further to show that the median wait time from when 911 is called to someone arriving on the scene may more than double in a rural setting.

The Team at Steele Adams Hosman is Here for You

Families who lose a loved one in a motor vehicle accident are, understandably, going through an immense amount of grief and trauma. At Steele Adams Hosman, we want you to know that our team is here to help you through this difficult time. While we cannot replace the loss of a loved one, we can help alleviate some of the financial burden associated with their death.

Get in touch with a member of our team today to discuss your legal options. Free consultations are available by calling (801) 999-1506 or filling out this short form.

**Rural is defined as all non-urban areas.