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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2000 Jan-Mar;4(1):7-13.

Rural vs urban motor vehicle crash death rates: 20 years of FARS data.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse, 13210, USA.



Historically, motor vehicle crash (MVC)-related mortality is higher in rural areas than in urban areas. The authors evaluated whether the difference in rural and urban MVC deaths is persisting, and whether the frequency of patients being found dead at the scene, particularly in rural areas, is increasing.


Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) data for 1977 through 1996 were reviewed. The authors determined the frequency with which crash deaths occurred, and calculated population-based and vehicle-miles-traveled-based crash death rates. They compared rates for urban and rural areas.


A total of 875,405 crash deaths were included in the analysis. Both population-based and vehicle-miles-traveled-based MVC deaths have decreased over the last 20 years, but rural rates remain significantly higher than urban rates. Dead-at-scene rates may be increasing, and the rural dead-at-scene rate is higher than the urban rate.


While MVC death rates are declining, the rural MVC death rate is still higher than the urban rate. Although these data may indicate some positive movement in the area of MVC-related deaths, differences in the rural and urban rates and the number of patients found dead on-scene remain as issues that require attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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