Alabama’s Dangerous Roads –Traffic Fatality Rates Top National Average

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Alabama residents are no strangers to the impact of fatal car crashes. One study ranks the state the third most dangerous place to drive in the nation, and Madison County-Huntsville totals the third highest number of deadly crashes in Alabama.

A new study by Car Insurance Comparison.com found Alabama roads and highways to be more dangerous than all states except South Carolina and Florida in a nationwide analysis based on multiple factors.

The rankings are based on a compilation of several traffic-related factors. According to the study, Alabama ranks 40th in interstate fatalities per mile of interstate and 47th for death rates tallied by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The state also trails much of the nation in the quality of bridges, ranking 37th nationally for obsolete structures, and 46th in the number of highway deaths per 1,000 miles traveled, the study shows.

The types of roads where fatal crashes occur is telling. While the greatest portion of crashes occur on city streets, the largest portion of fatal accidents occur on county roads, which may have no shoulder and lack proper striping and signs. Approximately, 11 percent of deadly crashes in Alabama occurred on interstate highways, according to Alabama Crash Facts. Meanwhile, 30 percent occurred on county roads, 23 percent on state routes, 20 percent on U.S. routes, and 13 percent on city streets.

And the numbers keep piling up. A Vinemont woman was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Feb. 23 on U.S. 278 just west of Holly Pond in Cullman County when her 2005 Chrysler Sebring ran off the road, smashed into a tree and flipped. Alabama Highway Patrol troopers are still trying to determine the cause of the wreck.

In some instances, roadway design, lack of proper warning signs, or lack of road maintenance can contribute to a crash.

Alabama’s traffic fatality rates continue to top national numbers, even after death-related crashes statewide saw a major decline to 848 in 2009. Since then, Alabama’s totals have settled into the same range: 862 in 2010, 895 in 2011 and 865 in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The NHTSA reported that Alabama had 1.63 fatalities per 1 million miles of vehicle travel in 2008 compared to 1.26 across the country. Even as the state’s number of fatal crashes dropped over the next three years to 1.34, Alabama remained above the national rate of 1.1 vehicular deaths per 1 million miles traveled.

Alcohol-related deaths, in which motorists had a blood-alcohol content above .08 percent, totaled 257 deaths in 2012.

Madison County had some of the highest driving fatality totals in the state.

The number of fatal crashes in Madison County increased to 53 in 2012, a 36 percent increase from the previous year, the NHTSA reported.

If not for a strong federal highway funding rank of 14th, and 24th-place ranking for the number of people wearing seatbelts, Alabama might rate as the most dangerous place to drive in America, according to the study. That’s all the more reason to make sure you keep a good personal injury attorney’s phone number at your fingertips.

Fatal Cullman Co. wreck claims life of woman