Omaha Drivers Face Higher Risks of Accidents in Rural Areas
Car accidents are responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries involving Nebraska residents every year. Research suggests that car accidents are more likely to occur in rural areas than urban areas, which means those in Nebraska are at high risk. So what can Omaha motorists do to stay safe while driving in rural areas?
Study authors suggest proactive solutions, such as purchasing the safest car for your budget, wearing a seat belt and practicing safe driving.
When injuries do occur, auto accident victims in Omaha have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries and losses. An experienced Omaha car accident attorney will work to hold negligent drivers accountable for their dangerous conduct so that other innocent victims are not injured on the road.
Rural v. Urban Auto Accident Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released findings of a study analyzing accidents rates in rural v. urban areas. Researchers concluded that in 2015, only 19 percent of the population of the United States lived in rural areas, yet 57 percent of motor vehicle deaths reported that year occurred on rural roads. Interestingly, the number of crashes in urban areas was found to be higher, but rural accidents were far more likely to cause fatal injuries.
These findings were examined alongside another critical factor: Seat belt use. Incident rates of wearing a seat belt tended to be highest in urban counties and lowest in rural counties. The more rural a community, the less likely drivers and passengers were to buckle up. Seat belt use was also higher in primary enforcement states (in which failure to use a seat belt is a separate offense for which an officer may stop and cite a driver) than secondary enforcement states (in which an officer may only cite a driver for failure to use a seat belt after another violation has been observed).
So what can be learned from these findings? First, seat belt use is a significant predictor of whether auto accident injuries will be fatal. To that end, states can benefit from implementing primary enforcement laws, and utilizing high-visibility enforcement mechanisms (such as traffic cameras).
Individuals must also accept responsibility for seat belt use. Whether for passengers or drivers, seat belt use saves lives. (An estimated 64,000 lives were saved by seat belts in the United States just between 2011 and 2015.) Implement family rules for seat belt use in the car. Teens, especially, should have driving privileges which are strictly contingent on seat belt use and other safe driving behaviors. Children should be placed in car seats and booster seats which are appropriately sized to their age and weight. Continue moving the child up to the next appropriate size as he or she grows. Until the age of twelve, children should never ride in a front seat, due to the risk of injury from the passenger airbag.
The Nebraska Department of Health reports the seat belt use rate in Nebraska was 83 percent in 2016 - below the national rate of 88.5 percent. Of the 191 people who died in Nebraska car accidents in 2016, 74 percent were not wearing a seat belt. Nationally, 48 percent of those who died in crashes weren't wearing seat belts.
Of course, all the safety precautions in the world cannot prevent every accident. Nebraska law protects the right of injury victims to be compensated for their injuries and losses. An experienced Omaha auto accident attorney will ensure that accident victims receive the full compensation to which they are entitled by law.