Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys encourage you to start a discussion with your family about the importance of safe driving as we head into the busy year-end holiday travel season.
The National Safety Council reports fatal traffic accidents nationwide are up 7 percent compared to the same period last year and more than 5 percent from 2010. It’s news that has safety officials particularly concerned given that the last three months are typically the deadliest of the year.
More than 21,000 people have died in traffic accidents thus far this year; that’s about 90 people a day. Alabama traffic accidents killed 546 through the end of August, down slightly from 2011 but up from 2010. These numbers are expected to continue to increase as the economy improves. And the last three months of the year are historically the most dangerous on our roads.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety reports more than 123,000 crashes occur annually in the state. In 2009, more than 35,000 motorists were seriously injured and 848 were killed.
Autumn brings its own unique risks:
-Teen Drivers: Teens are traveling to and from school and after-school jobs. Many teens are taking driver’s ed and earning their driver’s licenses. Teens in their first two years of driving are at highest risk for an accident.
-Night Driving: With Daylight Savings Time coming to an end, many of us will be commuting home in the dark. This increasing the risk of bicycle and pedestrian accidents as well as all types of motor vehicle crashes, including those blamed on drowsy driving.
-Drunk Driving: Someone dies in an accident with a drunk driver every hour in the United States. Drunk drivers kill over 10,000 a year — accounting for fully one-third of all traffic fatalities reported nationwide. The football season will give way to the long trio of year-end holidays and both increase the risk of drunk driving crashes.
-Aggressive Driving: 69 shopping days left until Christmas. Stressed yet? The year-end holidays are a hectic time. Often the weather is not great. Often we are rushed. While we are all aware of the high-profile cases of road rage, what is far more common is for drivers to display milder aggressive driving tendencies behind the wheel. Speeding, tailgating, horn blasting, sudden lane changes, disobeying a traffic control device, not using a turn signal. These are behaviors most of us would have to admit to on some occasion and yet each increases our risk of being in an accident.
The Alabama Highway Patrol reminds motorists to obey the speed limit. One-third of all fatal crashes nationwide involve a speeding driver. Speeding reduces your reaction time and increases force of impact.
In Alabama, the interstate speed limit is 70 mph, which historically is the fastest it’s been since 1964. The speed limit on most four-lane roads is 65 mph. The limit on state or country roads is 45-55 mph unless otherwise marked.
Talk to your family about the risks. Take them seriously through year’s end. And do your part to avoid becoming a statistic.
Nursing Home Neglect in Alabama and the Trust Fund Amendment, By Cross & Smith, LLC, Oct. 8, 2012.
Uninsured Motorist Accidents in Alabama Target of Upcoming Enforcement Effort, By Cross & Smith, LLC, Oct. 3, 2012.