Alabama traffic fatalities are rising, but not actual crashes

Alabama traffic fatalities are increasing dramatically despite the fact that overall accidents are the same.

Alabama's roads and highways are becoming deadlier. A University of Alabama study found that 2016 traffic fatalities in the state increased by nearly a quarter despite the fact that overall motor vehicle accidents only increased by a small percentage during the same time period. Those two facts suggest that drivers are taking more risks on the road, risks that contribute to increasing the chances that an accident will result in death or serious injury. Speeding and not wearing a seatbelt were identified in the UA study as being major causes of the increase in fatalities.

Traffic deaths up, accidents steady

The UA study estimated that there were 1,058 traffic fatalities in Alabama last year, which was an increase of 24.6 percent from the 849 people who died in 2015. That massive increase in fatalities is despite the fact that overall traffic accidents only increased by 2.1 percent during the same period.

That trend is continuing into 2017. As WBRC News reports, during the first 128 days of 2017 there were 219 traffic fatalities in Alabama, up 15 from the same point last year. That averages out to 1.7 people dying on the state's roads and highways every year, a figure that will likely increase once the busy summer driving season gets underway. However, overall traffic accidents have actually declined this year.

Why are accidents becoming deadlier?

The figures show that while accidents themselves may not be increasing, the severity of those accidents is. Researchers believe speeding is a major factor in why accidents have become so much deadlier in Alabama. The largest percentage increase in fatal accidents where speed was a factor was in accidents that happened involving a vehicle driving 91 mph or above. Fatal accidents in that category increased from 21 in 2015, which caused 28 fatalities, to 33 last year causing 44 fatalities. Studies show that every 10 mph increase in speed doubles the chances of an accident resulting in death.

Another major factor was seatbelt usage. Although 90 percent of Alabaman drivers use a seatbelt, less than half who were killed in accidents last year were found to have used one. Using a seatbelt vastly increases the chances of surviving an accident. UA researchers, for example, say that the chances of dying in a car accident while using a seatbelt are one in 400, but those odds increase to one in 13 for those who don't wear one.

Personal injury law

Alabama's roads and highways are becoming more dangerous, with reckless and negligent drivers largely to blame. Anybody who has been injured in an accident, especially if that accident was caused by another driver's dangerous actions, should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can help clients pursue whatever compensation they may be entitled to, which could ultimately help them on their road to recovery.