We all want to be as safe as possible during our commute. Yet we often take for granted the inherent dangers of driving. There are many factors that contribute to traffic incidents. Stalled vehicles, spilled loads and collisions congest our roads, wreak havoc in our daily lives and sometimes result in tragedy. Rarely are we prepared when the worst happens.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS) there were over 30,000 fatal car crashes in the U.S. in 2013. The state of Alabama accounted for some 852 deaths alone. The bitter irony is the very same highways that allow for our economy to thrive are where most incidents occur. In Alabama, the most dangerous roadways are those that connect our cities to the rest of the country: Highways 280, 231 and I-565.
Clear and Present Danger
In October of 2015, a baby boy was rescued from the wreckage of a Honda CRV in Shelby County. An 18-wheeler traveling down Highway 280 had crushed the car and taken the life of the child’s young mother. This is truly heartbreaking for all involved. And frustrating, because locals living and working in the area attest to frequency of collisions on this stretch of road.
The woman responsible for rescuing the baby told investigators,
“It’s difficult to slow a large vehicle coming down the hill and if there’s any mechanical problems, you know, it’s a recipe for danger.”
The trouble spot responsible is a blind downhill curve leading to a stoplight.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) reported that for Jefferson and Shelby counties, there were 537 fatal crashes on Highway 280 between 2007 and 2011. If you are traveling this road, please use caution when entering either East or West-bound, remember the oncoming blind curve and slow down for the stop-light.
Life in the Fast Lane
U.S. Highway 231 starts in Indiana and slices through Alabama before ending in Florida. As of October 2015, the Accident Data Center reported about 180 accidents in the Huntsville-Decatur section of Highway 231. Commuters from the surrounding 14 counties travel on the 231 daily. A total of 6 accidents left victims injured or killed in Huntsville. The highest number of them occurred in Madison County.
Home to Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University, students in Madison County frequently hear they can “Start here, go anywhere.” Early into the Fall semester, two students were involved in car accidents. When the student body held a candlelight vigil for their fellow bulldogs, they shed light on the need for commuters to be vigilant in promoting safe driving habits in young men. This is because young males account for 71% of all fatal crashes across the nation. Of all the places our children can go, an early grave is never one we want to send them.
I Can Drive I-565
Interstate 565 is another highway responsible for a high number of car accidents. It’s hard to imagine such a small stretch of roadway – 22 miles- causing so much calamity. In September of this year, two young women from Birmingham were injured in a crash in Cullman County. The accident was fatal, occurring at 1 am on a Sunday morning. Neither of the two were wearing their seatbelts, which means both genders are just as likely to be involved in an auto accident.
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) reported in 2012 that Alabama drivers have a 98% chance of being in a crash during the course of their lifetime. Most fatal crashes occur between Friday and Sunday, within 25 miles of the driver’s residence. The incident in Cullman County is proof of this trend.
Safety is the Key to Saving Lives
No matter where you travel to in Alabama, practicing safe driving habits is the best way to avoid the potential devastation a car accident can cause. Some general safe driving tips include:
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Reduce speeds when traveling downhill.
- Look out for pedestrians.
- Obey the speed-limit when traveling at night or through hazardous weather conditions.
Highways 280, 231 and I-565 are proven danger zones no matter the actual condition of the road. We encourage all residents to use caution while traveling through our beautiful state. The ALDOT is continuously working on improving our roads, and we can help them by using awareness while driving.
Who We Are
Pitman, Dutton & Hellums is a Birmingham personal injury law firm with a solid record of success in handling Alabama motor vehicle accident cases. We understand how difficult life can be after a car crash and we’d like to help. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, contact us at (205) 322-8880. Consultation is always free and at no cost to you.