Rural areas, although home to less than 20 percent of the nation’s population, account for 55 percent of traffic fatalities, and largely rural states have the deadliest roadways. Despite the greater risk, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota, drivers feel safer and more relaxed on these rural routes than on urban freeways
When state Departments of Transportation address safety concerns related to motor-vehicle/wildlife crashes, the agencies save lives and reduce economic costs. Crashes involving larger animals – including deer, elk, moose, and bear – are on the rise, and many states consider addressing this safety concern an integral part of their mission. Some states are using innovative approaches to keep wildlife off the roads.
Although hydraulic fracturing has meant jobs and business development for some economically hard-hit areas, the rural roads in those areas are taking a beating because of the many heavy trucks required to carry sand, water, and equipemnt. Maintenance costs to rebuild the roads can reach the tens or even hundreds or millions of dollars. Now some states are trying to assure that the companies causing the damage will also help with the cost of repairs.