Why is Alabama’s car accident fatality rate higher than the national average?

For nine years — 2003 through 2012 — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded the number of automobile accidents in Alabama and across the country, and the rate of auto-accident deaths in Alabama was nearly two times higher than the national average. But why?

You might assume the reason is that Alabamians more often engage in bad driving behaviors like texting while driving or drunk driving, but the real reason for the higher death rate, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, is that so many people in our state live in rural areas where there are fewer hospitals.

After a wreck that results in serious injuries, a person’s survival may depend on how quickly an ambulance can get to the scene to stabilize the victim. Then the ambulance has to transport the victim to a hospital. All of this can take much longer in rural areas than in metropolitan areas like Birmingham, and in these situations, every second counts.

In fact, the Alabama Rural Health Association has reported that the auto-accident mortality rate for Alabamians in rural areas is almost 56 percent higher than the mortality rate for people who live in the state’s urban areas, and that there is a direct connection between the accident survival rate and how rural a county is.

While these facts provide insight into why Alabama has a higher crash fatality rate, it should be noted that the CDC report on accident deaths does not take into account the many more non-fatal injuries suffered by Alabama motorists. A serious wreck can leave a person with lifelong medical problems, lost income and piles of medical bills. These costs can be covered, however, through a successful accident and injury claim.

For more on how to obtain compensation after a serious wreck, please see our car accident claim overview.

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