More than half of traffic deaths -- 52 percent -- in the United States between 1999 and 2003 happened on rural, non-interstate roads and highways, according to a study released this week by The Road Information Program. Traffic on these roads accounted for only 28 percent of travel.
In 2003, there were 2.72 deaths per 100 million miles traveled on non-interstate, rural roads compared with .99 deaths per 100 million miles on all other roads.
"Rural drivers are being put at an unacceptable risk because many of these roads lack desirable safety features," said Frank Moretti, research and policy director of the private transportation group.
Narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, pavement drop-offs, and roadside hazards such as trees and utility poles are dangerous for drivers, he said.