A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention indicates that individuals living in large cities such as San Francisco are less likely to be killed in a car accident than individuals living in rural areas.
The study, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, indicates that the national car accident death rate was 11.1 per 100,000 people, but individuals living in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) had a fatality rate of 8.2 per 100,000.
“The combined overall motor vehicle crash death rate for the 50 most populous MSAs in the United States was lower than the overall national rate,” researchers wrote.” Residents of the MSAs represented 54 percent of the U.S. population in 2009, while accounting for only 40 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths.”
There are several limitations to the data used by the CDC including the fact that deaths were reported based on the residence of a person and not based on where the crash happened. Another limitation is that all traffic accident deaths were included in the data because of confidentiality and liability issues.
There is also evidence that relatively compact metro areas such as San Francisco may be safer than sprawling southern cities. San Francisco had among the lowest numbers of fatal crashes, with 4 per 100,000 residents, whereas the greater San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area had 5.6 crash deaths per 100,000.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Vehicle crash death rates are lower in urban areas, CDC says,” Nika Soon-Shiong, July 25, 2012