AUSTIN, Texas. According to Scientific American, living in a low-income neighborhood could increase your risk of car accident injuries or death. Why? Poorer neighborhoods have poorer road design. Researchers found that residents in the poorest neighborhoods were six times more likely to suffer serious injuries. City planning resources may not be as available in lower income communities. In fact, studies have found that simple changes to road design—putting up more crosswalks, reducing speed limits, and putting in bike lanes could mean major improvements for people living in poorer communities.
Poorer communities were more likely to be located near faster thoroughfares and were more likely to have four-way intersections, which have a higher risk of car accident and pedestrian injury. Poorer residents may also not have the same access to sidewalks that wealthier people enjoy. All of these factors can increase a person’s risk of injury or accidents. Additionally, highways may be built closer to poorer communities. The land may be less expensive and the communities may not have the same political mobility that wealthy communities have to keep expressways out.
Researchers are not the only ones who know that people in poorer communities are more likely to suffer serious injury due to pedestrian or car accidents. Chances are your health insurance company has this data as well, and may be basing your premiums upon it. According to ProPublica, health insurance companies may be accessing publicly available data on you to determine your injury risk and risk of developing certain diseases. The data includes information about where you live, whether you pay your bills on time, and whether you watch a lot of Netflix, or buy plus-sized clothing. All of these factors can offer health companies insight into your particular risk, and by extension—help them evaluate their risks.
The data sets can also put the poorest people at risk of facing the worst scores. If poorer residents are more likely to live in neighborhoods poorly designed for traffic, they may be more at risk of injury or accidents. This can drive up health insurance premiums for the people who can afford higher premiums the least.
So, what can individuals do to stay safe on the road? Regardless of where you live, choose to use sidewalks when you can. When driving, watch for bike riders, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users. Don’t run stop signs or try to beat yellow lights. Slow down. Put down the cell phone.
While road design can make a difference in injuries, people’s actions ultimately lead to accidents. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Austin, Texas, consider reaching out to the Robson Law Firm, car accident lawyers today. Our lawyers can review your case, estimate the value of your claim, and fight to help you get the maximum possible recovery under the law. Visit us at https://robsonlawfirm.com/ to learn more.
Robson Law Firm
1114 Lost Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 345-8200