A Hidden Danger in Driving: Socioeconomic Status?

Thanks to innovations in auto manufacturing and the tightening of laws, such as distracted driving and drunk driving laws, the number of injuries and deaths due to car accidents is gradually declining each year. Recently, a troubling trend has come to light involving individuals who are live within the lower socio economic status; they are more likely to die in a car accident than those who are “well off”.

Is Your Economic Background Your Fate?

Data reveals that the biggest decline in car accident fatalities involve educated individuals over the age of 25. However, individuals who are over the age of 25 and have less than a high school diploma make up a significant amount of traffic deaths.

Does the data automatically determine that an undereducated adult is not smart enough to drive a vehicle responsibly or safely? No, the data doesn’t prove that “smarts” has anything to do with the act of driving itself, but rather the access to safer vehicles and even safer roads. It’s well-known that if an individual doesn’t have at least a high school diploma, finding a job that provides a “livable” income is more difficult.

The “Luxury” of Owning a Safe Vehicle

Hidden Dangers of Driving: Socioeconomic Class

Image: Storyblocks.com

Although vehicles have become safer overall, there are still plenty of vehicles on the road that are not safe. Some of the best, safest vehicles have multiple airbags, crash avoidance technology, and braking assistance, however, these vehicles equipped with top-of-the-line safety features are not priced for everyone.

Even with a loan and a down payment, new vehicles can be expensive. If an individual is living from paycheck to paycheck, he or she may not even qualify for a loan, let alone save up enough money for a safer vehicle.

The Hidden Costs of Maintenance

According to Mike Sawaya, Denver, Colorado car accident lawyer at The Sawaya Law Firm, car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons from drunk driving to distracted driving and even unsafe and irresponsible driving behavior. Failing to maintain a vehicle can also cause a preventable accident. When your income is limited, you’re more likely to purchase a vehicle that is within a budget rather than safe or even in good working order. For many drivers, as long as it runs and can get them from place to place, it’s the best they can do.

Even if the car itself is affordable, there are many costs that go into keeping a car from fuel to oil changes to tire rotations. For example, regular maintenance on a late model car can cost almost $800 per year and if the vehicle is older, the price can increase. Other costs, such as insurance may often get overlooked due to the cost, but insurance is not only a legal issue but can protect a driver and other motorists in the event of an accident.

If you are a driver with financial limitations, it’s better to stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance, regardless of the condition of your vehicle, to avoid the overwhelming costs of car repairs such as brakes and transmission. For your own safety, never drive a vehicle once it’s deemed unsafe to drive and always practice safe driving such as buckling up and defensive driving.

Author: Matt Rhoney