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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The good news is that because of advances in automobile safety, fewer Americans are dying in car crashes.

The bad news is that Americans who are struggling financially are not sharing in those advances, and are more likely than the well-to-do to die in a car crash.

For people 25 and older who have less than a high school diploma, fatality rates have actually increased between 1995 and 2010.

Researchers looked at data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Current Population Survey to determine traffic fatalities and education levels.

They found the death rate for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists were about 2.5 times higher for those with the least education in 1995. By 2010 they were 4.3 times more likely to die in an accident, compared to higher education levels.

“It’s true that there are big differences in the quality of the residential environments that people have in terms of their risks of accidental death as pedestrians,” study co-author Sam Harper told the Washington Post.

Harper explains it’s not that a college degree makes someone a better driver. People with lower educations tend to driver older cars that lack many of the safety features found in new cars, like side airbags, automatic warnings and rear cameras.

The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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