Data from several sources were used to examine the similarities and differences in the characteristics of crashes occurring in rural areas vs. those occurring in urban areas. Data from the Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) for the period 1975-1993 were used to examine the characteristics of rural fatal crashes, contrasted with the characteristics of urban fatal crashes. For crashes of lower severity, data from three of the state files maintained by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), i.e., Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico for the period 1989-1993, were examined. Finally, data from the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) were used to contrast safety belt use and medical costs for persons injured in rural crashes vs. those injured in urban crashes. For the comparisons of rural and urban crashes using the FARS data, the study found that while there are approximately 40% more fatal crashes occurring in rural areas compared to urban areas, there are fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in rural areas. In addition, rural fatal crashes more often involve more than one fatality, have more vehicle rollovers, involve more trucks, have severe vehicle damage, and involve more head-on collisions, and the time for emergency medical services (EMS) to reach the crash scene is longer in rural areas than in urban areas. Findings were similar for the comparisons of crashes from the state data files. Findings for the CODES data indicate that the benefit of using safety belts, in medical dollars spent, is smaller for rural crashes.

  • Corporate Authors:

    National Center for Statistics and Analysis

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Tessmer, J M
  • Publication Date: 1996-8


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 164 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00727210
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-808 450
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 4 1996 12:00AM