Various studies indicate that people in rural areas are likelier to experience traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a variety of causes than those living in more urban and suburban regions. One of the more frequent causes of these life-altering injuries is automobile accidents.
According to a CDC report released in 2020, more than 10,000 deaths due to TBI across all age groups in the United States were the result of motor vehicle crashes. Most of those deaths occurred in rural areas, prompting further research into why that might be. While those studies are ongoing, here is what they have revealed so far, and the steps that should be taken to reduce the risk of crash-related TBIs.
The role of alcohol and drugs in rural accidents
Many car, truck, and motorcycle accidents could be prevented by reducing the number of drunk and drug-impaired drivers on the road. Unfortunately, the use of alcohol and narcotics tends to be higher in rural areas overall. The fact that rural roads also tend to have less traffic may encourage drivers who are under the influence to take the chance and drive, figuring there is less opportunity for them to hit anyone. What these drivers don’t consider is the unexpected, e.g., a deer leaping out in front of them, encountering a stuck vehicle in the one-lane road without a shoulder, or losing control and driving into a tree.
What can be done to prevent this? Law enforcement in rural areas outside Los Angeles should vigorously enforce California’s blood alcohol limitation laws via sobriety checkpoints. They should also crack down on underage drinking, employing a zero-tolerance response that punishes any establishment or individuals who serve youngsters under the age of 21, and take the offending youth’s license away until they pass mandatory education on being a responsible driver. Adult offenders should likewise be punished to the limits of the law, including having ignition interlocks added to their vehicles when they are released from custody and get their licenses reinstated.
Reduced use of seatbelts increases risk of traumatic brain injury
The use of seatbelts is associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of death in motor vehicle accidents, yet far too many drivers and passengers in rural areas don’t use them. Again, this is probably because the roads they travel are remote, giving the illusion that an accident is highly unlikely. Yet all it takes is one unexpected occurrence like the ones described previously for everyone in the vehicle to be thrown violently around, slamming their heads into windows and doors or against one another, to cause significant brain injuries.
Improving the use of seatbelts begins with education. New drivers should have it drilled into them that every single time they and their passengers get into the car, the first thing they must do is strap in, even those in the backseat or in a seemingly impregnable vehicle like a pick-up truck. Primary seatbelt enforcement needs to be utilized so that police officers can ticket drivers and passengers if they are caught at a checkpoint not wearing them, even if that is their only violation.
Contact Scott J. Corwin After Experiencing TBI From a Car Crash
Attorney Scott J. Corwin maintains memberships in the Brain Injury Association of America, the Brain Injury Association of California, the International Brain Injury Association, and the North American Brain Injury Society. These respected national and international organizations provide ongoing education and information to their members. He is also a Top 25 Brain Injury Lawyer in California and a distinguished member of the National Brain Injury Trial Lawyers Association. If you or someone dear to you suffers a TBI in an automobile accident, please contact Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, for assistance holding them accountable for your medical bills and other damages.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.