Traffic Fatality Rates High in Appalachia

The rolling mountain hills and winding highways through the Appalachian region pose a greater risk to motorists than in other parts of the country. Even though the area provides residence to less than 10 percent of the population, the traffic fatality rate is 45 percent higher than in other areas throughout the country. A recent study conducted by the West Virginia University School of Public Health has assessed the accident fatality rates throughout the Appalachian region, which is comprised of 13 states, including North Carolina.

Before packing up your family and driving through the Appalachian mountains, you might want to consider the potential risks of traffic accidents. Between 2008 and 2010, there were 15.8 traffic deaths per 100,000 people. This rate is significantly higher than the average 10.9 fatalities per 100,000 people living in other parts of the United States. The researchers analyzed traffic fatalities involving passenger-vehicle motor vehicles, motorcycles, and ATV’s. The fatality rates were higher for motorists, but lower for pedestrians and bicyclists in Appalachia, compared to non-Appalachian parts of the states. Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping the victims of highway accidents recover compensation after an injury or fatality.


According to researchers, the elevated traffic fatality rate can be attributed to several factors. Statistically, people who live in rural areas have a higher rate of accidents. There are approximately 25 million people in the Appalachian region with a high proportion of rural residents. Researchers also suggest that the accidents could be caused by road issues and the mountainous terrain. Analysts are also considering the possibility that fatalities could be higher in the Appalachian region because of the difficulties medical teams have in reaching accident victims.

Appalachian highways are also used by semi-trucks that can pose a risk to other passengers on the road. Tractor-trailers carrying large loads and traveling at high speeds through the mountains will have a more difficult time slowing down and can cause serious accidents and highway fatalities. Many truck accidents are also caused by fatigued drivers who will pass through the Appalachian highways at night or when they haven’t had proper rest. In the event of a trucking accident, victims should act quickly to preserve trucking company records. Driver logs and black box evidence could indicate that a driver was in violation of state or federal trucking regulations.

Highways through the Appalachian mountains may also be in disrepair or be too narrow to accommodate two lanes of traffic. In some cases involving road disrepair, a public entity or contractor may be held liable. In the event of an accident an investigation can determine the cause of the collision and identify any individuals or entities that are responsible. Investigations at the outset are also critical to preserve evidence on behalf of victims and their families. Police reports, witness statements, photographs, surveillance, and other evidence can be critical to proving that an individual or entity was responsible for an accident.

If you were involved in a traffic collision contact the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

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