— First a study found overweight drivers are at greater risk of injury or death in an accident because they don't wear their seat belts.
Then another study determined obesity increases the odds of being killed in an auto accident, and for the morbidly obese, the odds increase by 80 percent.
Now a new study indicates the least educated are at greater risk of death associated with automobiles.
The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found a decline in auto fatalities occurred to people with the most education. However, fatality rates have only increased for those 25 and older who have less than a high school education.
The study looked at data for death rates between 1995 and 2010 using information from the National Center for Health Statistics, the Current Population Survey and the National Household Travel Survey.
Researchers say adjusted death rates were 2.4 times higher at the bottom of the education distribution than at the top in 1995, and increased to 4.3 times higher by 2010. The study found that while death rates declined for certain populations, socioeconomic differences in mortality have worsened over time.
Researchers believe money might have everything to do with the increase in deaths, considering those with less education typically make less money.
Less money generally means driving older vehicles with less safety features compared to newer more expensive cars. Older vehicles can easily lack side airbags, lane departure warning systems, front crash prevention systems and other safety features.
More bad news for the poor and those in rural areas comes in the form of a decreased number of emergency rooms to treat accident victims, not to mention damaged roads in need of repair.