If you live in Alabama, you may already know that you are at a high risk of being involved in some kind of car accident at some point in your lifetime. Alabama’s US Route 431, once made a “Dangerous Roadways” list and was coined “Highway to Hell”. While some improvements have been made, the statistics show that driving in Alabama is still dangerous. According to the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS) annual “Crash Facts” report, a typical driver in Alabama has greater than one in three chances of involvement in an injury or fatal crash while operating a vehicle over their lifetime. Whether you have been involved in multiple car accidents in Birmingham or a single-car accident in Homewood, you have become part of the projected 98 percent probability of individuals’ involvement in a car accident.
2011 Alabama Crash Facts: A Year in Review
Most all car accidents are preventable. Whether an accident occurs because of a distracted driver, a driver making careless decisions, or traffic congestion, there is always room for improvement and safety precautions should always be followed when possible. According to CAPS the following occurred, on Alabama roadways, in 2011:
– In the 814 reported fatal crashes, 899 people were killed.
– Every 247 seconds (or a little over every 4 minutes), a traffic crash was reported.
– Approximately every 13 minutes, a person was injured in a crash.
– Approximately every 9 hours and 44 minutes, a person was killed in a crash.
– Of 377 fatalities, no seatbelt was used. That’s 42 percent!
– Most crashes occurred in urban areas (75 percent) while most fatalities occurred in rural areas (60 percent).
– Of all drivers of fatal crashes, 8.3 percent were between the ages of 16-19 and 18.6 percent involved drivers under the age of 25.
– 49.6 percent of fatal crashes occurred at night
– The pedestrian death toll was 84, motorcycle or moped rider fatalities were 97, and 5 bicyclists were killed.
– For unrestrained front seat occupants, the probability of being killed is about 50 times higher than those who wear seatbelts.
– The typical Alabama car accident occurs between vehicles or when a vehicle collides with a fixed object.
– The most crash-prone day of the week is Friday with more fatal crashes on Saturday. The most accident-prone period of the day is between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.
In Birmingham, the number of crashes decreased between 2010 (9943) and 2011(9811), while the number of persons killed increased between 2010(29) and 2011 (42). Additionally, the number of people injured decreased between 2010 (1931) and 2011 (1851).
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an illegal and a danger to all drivers and passengers. In 2011, 10,009 drivers were given DUIs. DUIs and alcohol related crashes can be prevented if drivers take the responsibility to know when they’ve had too much to drink and abstain from getting behind the wheel.
While it’s hard to determine accurate statistical data for distracted driving related incidents, it is safe to say that at least 125 fatalities, 4,000 injuries, and 15,000 crashes occurred in Alabama in 2011. Distracted driving occurs when a driver becomes inattentive to his/her driving and often cellphone usage and texting are to blame. In August of 2012, Alabama passed a ban on texting while driving.
Looking at Alabama’s Crash Data, it can be assumed that there were some improvements and advances on the roadways, but there is always room for more. Educating Alabama residents with startling statistics can be effective, but only if it becomes a catalyst for change and improving safer driving habits for all drivers. As a driver, follow all the necessary safety precautions so that you become one less statistic on busy and dangerous Alabama roadways.