Fatal motor vehicle accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of age, income, gender or location. However, a recent study, titled Trends in Socioeconomic Inequalities in Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths in the United States, 1995-2010, indicates that the disadvantaged are four times more likely to die in a crash than those that are financially well-off. It is not because a college education or a bigger salary makes you a better driver; instead, the authors believe that the increased risk stems from the less-than-optimal driving conditions with which impoverished communities often live.
Vehicle Safety Features Save Lives
Those with lower incomes typically own older cars, or cars that are more affordable. These often have lower crash-ratings, and they typically have fewer safety features, such as side-impact airbags, antilock brakes, or automatic warnings; this puts them at a much higher risk for life-threatening injuries and death in a motor vehicle accident. Those with lower incomes are also less likely to keep their vehicles in good, working condition, often neglecting maintenance issues, such as tire rotation, replacing worn brake pads or shoes, or repairing cracked windshields because of lack of funds.
Poor Road Conditions
Road conditions are yet another contributing factor to the higher risk of death for disadvantaged individuals. Generally speaking, their communities are lacking in safe and well-marked crosswalks, proper traffic signals and signs, and speed bumps; they may not even have major roads. These conditions are, quite often, an indicator of their lack of political power—a necessity when it comes to fighting for design improvements needed to make roads safer for both motorists and pedestrians.
Hospitals are fewer and further between in impoverished areas; in a life versus death situation, this can often result in death. Like poor road conditions, the lack of access to quality, emergency health care sometimes comes from a lack of political power. However, there may be other factors at play, including the former recession, which took a toll on every industry, including health care.
Lower Rate of Seat Belt Use
Although some studies continue to indicate that the less-educated are less likely to wear a seat belt—putting them at higher risk for severe and life-threatening injuries in an accident—seat belt use has actually started to increase over this particular group of individuals. So, overall, the socioeconomic gaps are closing; still, there is work to be done to minimize it even further.
In an Accident? Seek Professional Help Today
If you or someone you love has been injured or suffered wrongful death because of an automobile accident, it is crucial that you seek qualified, professional help. Insurance companies are inclined to help you or your loved ones in your time of need; their goal is to save as much money as they can. However, at Mevorah Law Offices LLC, we believe that you and your loved ones deserve fair compensation. Schedule a free consultation with a DuPage County automobile accident attorney by calling 630-932-9100 today.
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