by Morris, King & Hodge, P.C.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding are the two leading causes of traffic fatalities in Alabama. Yet DUI-related wrecks are far more likely to kill people, according to state Department of Transportation statistics.
Information compiled by the Alabama DOT shows 257 people died in DUI-related crashes in 2012 and 272 people died in speeding-related fatalities that year. In fact, the Alabama DOT totaled 865 fatal crashes in 2012, meaning more than half of vehicle accident deaths were directly related to either drunk driving or speeding.
Despite the efforts of law enforcement and legislators to reduce traffic accidents, these types of crashes continue to leave a devastating impact on the loved ones of all involved.
Here’s a breakdown of the causes of wrecks in Alabama:
Percentage-wise, DUI-related wrecks were most likely to kill people. Their total of 220 made up 3.5 percent of the total number of crashes in the state, 127,653.
Alabama’s legislature passed tougher DUI laws in 2011, including the requirement that first-time and repeat offenders with a blood-alcohol level of .15 install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles requiring a breath test before the vehicle will start.
Under new legislation, first-time DUI offenders with a blood-alcohol percentage of .08 percent would either have to install a Breathalyzer or lose their license.
Fatalities related to speeding actually went down in Alabama over the last few years. In 2005, the state reported 502 deaths from crashes involving speeding. That figure jumped to 568 in 2006 before consistently declining to 272 in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Still, more recent studies have shown that speeding is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in Alabama, especially in heavily traveled areas. The Madison County/Huntsville area, one of the state’s biggest populations, is the third most dangerous area, with 53 fatalities in 2012.
Alabama reported 780 wrong-way crashes in 2011, which led to 24 fatalities. That number dropped considerably from 2009, when the state reported 1,209 wrong-way wrecks that led to 44 deaths.
Failure to yield the right of way, misjudged stopping distance and tailgating, typically caused by motorists driving with little regard for those around them, were the top three causes of crashes, according to the 2011 DOT report.
Failure to yield was the primary cause of 19,311 wrecks, 97 of which led to fatalities. Misjudged stopping distances and tailgating, while not as dangerous, were still numerous. Tailgating led to 17,472 wrecks and two deaths, while misjudged stopping distances caused 12,229 crashes and three fatalities.
Regardless of the causes surrounding a wreck, the injuries an
d impact on families can be lasting. Whether fatalities, serious injuries or vehicle damage are involved, seek representation through an experienced law firm that can help you recover damage to your property and life. Speak with a Huntsville car accident lawyer today.