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You Might Be More Likely to Die in a Car Accident in Halifax Country than from a Bullet in Charlotte (Study Indicates)

A recent study disproved the longtime belief that you're safer living in a rural area. They found that your risk of dying from an accidental injury is 40% higher in the U.S.'s most rural counties than in its most urban.

So if you moved to a rural county like Halifax for safety reasons, you may want to pack your bags and head to Charlotte, Raleigh or Greensboro.

BikeAccident_07012014"As you moved further and further away from cities you got less and less safe. Even going into the suburbs dropped your safety a little bit," said Dr. Sage Myers, the lead researcher of the study. "It's a little counterintuitive."

The findings can be summarized a little something like this:

  • Rock beats scissors
  • Scissors beats paper
  • Paper beats rock
  • And car accidents beat guns


How the Study Was Designed

For Dr. Myer's study, the researchers examined data on nearly 1.3 million injury-related deaths from all 3,141 counties in the United States from 1999 to 2006.

The causes for the deaths they examined ranged from car accidents, shootings, poisoning, drowning, falls, suffocation, and heavy machinery, among others.

Deaths as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack were excluded from the study, as they were deemed too anomalous.

The study was published by the American College of Emergency Physicians recently in an article called "Safety in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the United States?"

Injury-Related Death Rates in the US

Injury-Related Death Rates in the US

The Most Common Causes of Accidental Deaths

The study identified the two most frequent causes of fatal injuries: car accidents and guns. Poisoning came in third. Here's what they found:

    1. Car Accidents

It's probably isn't very surprising that car accidents are by far the most common cause of injury-related deaths. However, it may surprise you that you're twice as likely to die in a car crash if you live in a rural area.

This may be true for several reasons:

      • People in rural areas may spend more time in cars.
      • Advanced medical care may not be as readily available in rural areas.
      • Rural drivers are more prone to drive at higher speeds
      • Other studies have shown that rural drivers are less likely to comply with seatbelt and child restraint laws.
    1. Guns

Gun violence is often what we tend to think about when we want to pick a "safe" place to live. And you're probably thinking that cities came out "ahead" in this category too, right?


The study reported no significant difference in the risk of being shot and killed in the most rural or most urban counties.

There were, however, very different patterns among the types of deaths from firearms. Homicides were more prevalent in the cities, but suicides and accidental shootings were more common in the country.

The study did see significant patterns among different age groups, relating to fatal shootings.

Children, ages 14 and younger, and adults over 45, were more likely to die from a firearm injury in rural areas. But adults (ages 20-44), were much more likely to be fatally shot in urban areas.

The risk was roughly the same for teenagers ages 15-19, no matter where they lived.

Injured in an accident?

If you, or a family member, were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible for compensation.  And that compensation usually comes from an insurance company, so you shouldn't have to worry if your friend, family member or neighbor was at fault.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, our NC personal injury lawyers deal with a variety of injury cases, from truck and car accidents to workers' comp incidents and defective drugs.

If you've been injured, give us a call at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Contact Information

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