Racial Disparities Seen in Traffic Accident Fatality Rates

Certain categories of road users have always been at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed in traffic accidents. Such disparities in accident risks among communities seem to have expanded over the past year.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, an analysis of traffic accident fatality data shows that minority communities like African Americans and indigenous communities have a much higher risk of suffering fatal injuries in accidents, compared to white Americans.

The Governors Highway Safety Association report tracked accident fatality data from between 2015 and 2019, and found that African Americans, indigenous peoples, and people of color constitute a disproportionate percentage of fatality rates in accidents. The report was titled Analysis of Traffic Fatalities by Race and Ethnicity, and is believed to be the first such report of this type in several years.

Some facts are very evident in the report. For instance, the analysis confirms that indigenous communities, including Alaskan natives and American Indians, have a much higher overall per capita rate of fatalities in traffic accidents. They were involved in the highest number of speeding – related accidents, and also had much higher risks of being killed in pedestrian and bicycle – related accidents. African Americans had the second highest rate of traffic accident fatalities, and also scored very high on pedestrian accident death as well as bicycle accident death data. Whites, however, are more likely to experience fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents, and also account for a higher number of passenger fatalities, compared to other communities.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the traditional racial inequities that exist across the country seem to also be reflected very strongly in traffic safety data. Inequalities, for instance, can impact the kind of infrastructure improvements that minority-dominated communities benefit from, and this could possibly play a major role in the high number of traffic accident fatalities involving persons belonging to these communities. Infrastructure improvements in these communities could really help benefit minority populations and people of color. Well-illuminated streets, for instance, are road features that white-dominated communities in Georgia take for granted, but could be rarer to find in communities where more people of color reside or in primarily black neighborhoods, contributing to an environment that has a high risk for accidents.

Lack of access to emergency medical care after an accident could also be another major factor impacting these high fatality rates.  Rural areas, for instance, are much more likely to be home to African American communities, and these areas often lack access to trauma centers.  Improving infrastructure and access to emergency resources could help stem the occurrence of serious or fatal injuries after a car accident.

If your loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, talking to an experienced accident lawyer can help you determine your legal options for a claim for damages and maximize your recovery.  You could qualify for damages that include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other forms of compensation.  Talk to an attorney and learn about your rights.

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