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Researchers Map America's Deadliest Roads

Online satellite imagery also provides crash data in public policy effort to boost safety

MONDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- You can now find the deadliest road in your town or your route to work through an online interactive map program that aims to increase public awareness of the need to drive safely.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) developed, so you can simply enter your address to see a map or satellite image of all of the road fatalities that have occurred in the area. Users can narrow their search to see the age of the driver, whether speeding or drinking was a factor, and if the driver was wearing a seat belt.

"When drivers type in their most common routes, they're shocked how much blood is being shed on it," CERS Research Director Tom Horan said in a news release issued by the university. "When it's the route you or your loved ones use, the need to buckle up, slow down and avoid distractions and drinking suddenly becomes much more personal and urgent."

The researchers were scheduled to unveil the Web site Monday in Santa Rosa, Calif., as part of their annual conference on rural safety.

CERS officials hope the site will help make a difference on the road and educate drivers as well.

One big target audience is rural drivers, because, according to the Federal Highway Administration, 57 percent of highway deaths happen on rural roads.

"By mapping out these fatalities, we can visually see what a large problem we have in our country," Lee Munnich, director of CERS in the university's Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs, said in the same news release. "It is time to start working toward prevention, and each one of these dots on the map represents that."

More information

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more about traffic safety.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: University of Minnesota, news release, July 28, 2008

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