One life lost on rural roads is one too many

Published 8:48 am Friday, August 1, 2008

As I have been out talking with the citizens of Commissioner District 5 over the last couple of weeks, I have been stressing the need to keep our roads and bridges safe and well maintained. That is why I read with interest a news article on a study done by the Center of Excellence in Rural Safety from the University of Minnesota. The study looked at 42,000 fatal accidents in 2006. It showed that while the majority of people live in an urban area, there is a disproportionate number of fatal traffic accidents happening on our rural roads.

So why is it that rural roads have a higher rate of fatalities? One reason is that people tend to drive faster on our rural roads. Another is that statistics show that a higher percentage of people drink alcohol before driving. Lastly, people are less likely to wear their seat belts in rural areas.

I keep saying that one life lost on our rural roads is one too many and maybe if we followed these three steps of slowing down, not drinking and driving, and buckling up, we can save a life. That life could be yours. We also need to be more vigilant with our driving habits in the summer months. With more people on our rural roads and some who are unfamiliar with them, we need to exercise more caution.

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If anyone is interested, there is a new Web site called “Safe Road Maps.” Here you can enter your zip code and see where automobile fatalities occurred in 2006 in our area. The 2007 information will be added this fall. The Web address is

Mike Lee

Albert Lea