Previously, rural roads in the U.S. saw more traffic deaths than city roads -- and researchers said that urban traffic deaths will only rise as populations and driving increase. Photo courtesy AAA
Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The number of deadly car accidents on streets in U.S. cities now outnumbers the total for people who are killed on rural roads, according to new figures.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued the 13-page research brief on Wednesday, which also says that speed is becoming a more influential factor in auto crashes.
According to the figures, about 19,600 people died in urban road accidents in 2019 -- and 16,300 were killed on rural roads. Of 9,500 road deaths in which speed was a factor, 54% occurred on urban roadways.
"Many urban streets in metropolitan areas are busier, with a mix of road users such as drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists," Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a statement.
"Add in speed, and these locations grow more dangerous. When navigating urban streets, every user needs to be careful, pay attention to road conditions and follow traffic laws."
The research brief also noted that urban traffic deaths increased by 34% during the 2010s while rural deaths declined by 10%.
During the decade, auto collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for almost 30% of all traffic deaths, regardless of speed and deaths in non-speeding vehicles tended to occur on higher-speed roads.
The study also showed that most victims of speeding-related crashes were males or young adults.
Previously, rural roads saw more traffic deaths than city roads -- and researchers said that urban traffic deaths will rise as populations and driving increase.
"This recent change is notable because ... more than 70% of the 4 million miles of public-access roads in the United States are rural," AAA noted. "Yet while speeding occurs on all roads, urban roads and streets account for a disproportionate number of speeding-related fatalities."
According to federal figures, almost 9,600 people died in traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022, a 7% increase over Q1 in 2021 and the highest first-quarter figure since 2002. In all of 2021, about 43,000 people died in traffic crashes and speed-related deaths rose by 5%.