Crashes More Often Fatal in Rural Areas

by | Oct 7, 2013 | Car Accident

More than twice as many children die in car accidents in rural areas than in urban areas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says. Why? The safety agency says it takes longer for emergency workers to arrive at the site of auto collisions in the countryside, the distance to hospitals is greater, and cellphone coverage may be spotty.

The findings are not new. Even though only 23% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, rural residents accounted for 57% of auto accident fatalities in 2007.

Oklahoma residents need to be aware of these concerns. Although 58% of Oklahoma residents live in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, it may take longer to get help after an accident in the wide-open spaces that make the state famous.

Rural and suburban neighbors of Norman and Oklahoma City also may be affected by the Emergency Medical Services Authority plan to increase response times. The agency hopes the plan will reduce traffic crashes involving ambulances while dispatchers instruct victims at accident scenes.

According to the Child Safety Network, car accidents were the leading cause of death for Oklahoma children ages 5-19 during 2004-2008.

Parents need to be sure that kids are properly restrained when traveling in the car. The most important safety recommendation is to provide the appropriate car seat for a child’s height and weight. One-third of children under age 8 who die in auto collisions are not restrained in proper child safety seats, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Rear-facing car seats reduce infant car crash deaths by 71%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children under the age of 12 sit in the back seat. The force of an airbag deploying can seriously injure a child sitting in the front seat.