Fatal Car Accidents Disproportionately Affect the Poor

December 10, 2015

Areas that are less economically advantaged have more fatal car accidents. Traffic deaths are steadily declining in more educated and prosperous groups, but for those who have not graduated from high school, the fatality rate of car accidents is actually increasing. Over the past decade, traffic deaths have dropped throughout the United States. However, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the improvements made to the road infrastructure since the mid-1990s have not been evenly distributed throughout the country.

The Statistics

The data used in the study, provided by the National Center for Health Statistics, considered fatalities to drivers, pedestrian, bicyclists, and passengers on public transportation, and determined that the fatality rate was higher for poor people injured in car accidents for five main reasons:

  1. Less education: The researchers found that those who gain the most benefit from improvements to road safety are those with the most education. This does not mean that more educated people are better drivers, but that those with less education are likely to be confronted with many outside situations which increase the danger of road travel.  This can include things like fatigued driving after working a double shift, having to walk to work in the dark, or cycling in a dangerous area, just to name a few. 
  2. Fewer financial resources: Poorer people are more likely to drive older model cars with less safety features, like side airbags, and are also less likely to have the resources to keeping the car as safe as possible through regular maintenance. Higher income people have later model cars, with options and safety features such as rear-view cameras, side airbags, and automatic braking, all of which are designed to help prevent fatalities if you are in an accident. As technology improves, it is only available to the wealthy at the beginning, and takes years to trickle down to those with less resources. 
  3. Conduct differences: This is not clear-cut, although some studies show that lower income people tend to have lower rates of seatbelt use. There is no clear evidence that alcohol use is higher among lower income people than higher income people. 
  4. Lack of hospitals: In disadvantaged communities, especially rural ones, there are not necessarily emergency rooms on every corner to treat victims of car accidents.  Many of the hospitals that are found in low income areas provide substandard care, as they are overwhelmed and underfunded. Not having access to immediate and high quality medical care can have a profound impact on the severity of your injury. 
  5. Less power: Those who live in wealthy neighborhoods usually benefit from nicely kept roads, well placed stop signs, and perfectly working street lights, as a result of having heightened political power. Poor communities, that do not have a lot of power or the ear of any politicians, suffer from the aging infrastructure and neglect of safety improvements.  Because of this, roads in poor areas are less safe, and fatalities for drivers and pedestrians are higher in those neighborhoods.   

We Can Help You

The car accident attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices are true believers that all people deserve equal protection under the law, and the amount of money you have should not matter.  We offer a free consultation and will pursue your case in the most cost effective way possible, to reduce your financial burden and help you recover the damages to which you are legally entitled.  Call now, and let us see how we can help you.

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