In 2014, 32,675 deaths were recorded in vehicle crashes within the United States. Out of these, 51% of the fatalities occurred in rural highways compared to 49% in urban highways. No specific crash data are available for the built-up areas along rural highways. Due to high fatalities in rural highways, it is important to identify the factors that cause the vehicle crashes. The main objective of this study is to determine the factors associated with severities of crashes that occurred in built-up areas along the rural highways of Nevada. Those factors could aid in making informed decisions while setting up speed zones in these built-up areas. Using descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression model, 337 crashes that occurred in 11 towns along the rural highways from 2002 to 2010 were analyzed. The results showed that more crashes occurred during favorable driving conditions, e.g., 87% crashes on dry roads and 70% crashes in clear weather. The binary logistic regression model showed that crashes occurred from midnight until 4 a.m. were 58.3% likely to be injury crashes rather than property damage only crashes, when other factors were kept at their mean values. Crashes on weekdays were three times more likely to be injury crashes than that occurred on weekends. When other factors were kept at their mean value, crashes involving motorcycles had an 80.2% probability of being injury crashes. Speeding was found to be 17 times more responsible for injury crashes than mechanical defects of the vehicle. As a result of this study, the Nevada Department of Transportation now can take various steps to improve public safety, including steps to reduce speeding and encourage the use of helmets for motorcycle riders.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joseph_shrestha/4/