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Death Rates Climbing on Rural Roads

A new report released from a Washington DC Think Tank on Thursday verifies what many transportation experts and commuters already know: Death rates are climbing on the nation´s rural roads.

The state of California ranks among the nation´s leaders in traffic deaths on rural roads.

According to the study, design and maintenance are the two prime reasons. Most rural byways are not designed for high traffic — and when it arrives, more people die.

The Mother Lode counties of Calaveras, Tuolumne and Amador all have some of the highest death rates per capita in the state.

Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to have narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, exposed hazards, pavement drop-offs, steep slopes and limited clear zones along roadsides.

The study says that motorists on rural, noninterstate routes are about four times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash with vehicles heading in the opposite direction than motorists traveling on all other routes.