Traffic safety researchers have long known that the majority of fatal crashes occur on rural roads, but it is not clear whether these crashes involve people who live in rural areas or residents of urban areas traveling on rural roads. 'Geodemographic' market-research tools allow determination of the urbanization of drivers' residence locations from their postal 'zip code.' Using data from the 1988-1992 files of the Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this study determined the residence location of several subgroups of drivers involved in fatal crashes. Not only did the majority of fatal crashes occur in rural areas, but the majority of fatal crashes involved rural and small-town residents, and the majority of the rural and small-town residents involved in fatal crashes were traveling on rural roads. © 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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