Fatal crash rates in the southeastern United States: Why are they higher?

Nikiforos Stamatiadis, Giovanni Puccini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The southeastern region of the United States has been experiencing consistently higher fatality crash rates compared with other regions of the country. This region also has a number of socioeconomic characteristics that differ from the national average, including lower median household income, higher percentages of the population below the poverty level, higher percentage of the area classified as rural, and lower percentage of high school completion and university attainment. It is then possible to assume that these socioeconomic characteristics could influence highway safety by affecting the age and type of vehicles owned, the condition of these vehicles, and the attitudes of the drivers toward safety and risk-taking behaviors. The objectives of this study were to identify potential socioeconomic factors that could contribute to the higher fatality crash rates in the Southeast and to develop preliminary relationships between socioeconomic characteristics and crash trends that could explain these higher numbers and rates. Driver and vehicle characteristics from the fatal accident reporting system database were related to socioeconomic and demographic census variables based on the zip code of the drivers' residences. Crash rates were obtained by the quasi-induced exposure methodology for single- and multivehicle crashes. The results indicate that these socioeconomic characteristics have an effect on single-vehicle crashes but they have no significant effect on multivehicle crash rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-124
Number of pages7
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1665
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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