Posted On: August 31, 2011

Law Enforcement Efforts Increased over Labor Day Weekend to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Alabama

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the Alabama Highway Patrol and more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state will be conducting a number of roadway checkpoints and saturation patrols from now until the end of the Labor Day weekend to help reduce the number of car accidents in Birmingham and elsewhere.

Long holiday weekends are typically a time when we see a dramatic increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents on our Alabama roadways. With increased enforcement efforts, officials across the state hope to significantly reduce that number.

The Alabama Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division will be raising awareness of this enforcement campaign through a number of TV public service announcements, billboards, website and newspaper ads. Alabama agencies are also asking neighboring states to join the enforcement efforts and to participate in Hands Across the Border events. These events include press conferences and roadside checkpoints and are used to make roadways safer for everyone in our region.

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys understand that the long Labor Day holiday weekend is a time for residents to get our and celebrate one last time before the end of summer. Unfortunately, this is a time when we see an increased amount of drunk driving accidents in our area. Driving under the influence is always a bad idea as it puts you and other motorists at risk for a potentially fatal traffic accident in addition to serious penalties if you're busted.

Alabama drunk driving laws and penalties:

-License suspension for 90 days for a first conviction of driving under the influence.

-A driver is required to have an ignition-interlock device installed on their vehicle if they're busted with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or greater.

-Drivers busted with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.15 will receive even stricter punishments.

-DUI checkpoints are legal in the state of Alabama and are conducted throughout the year.

DUI checkpoints are not only used to bust drunk drivers, but they're also used as a part of a larger drunk driving deterrence program. They aim to keep motorists on roadways across the state safe during holiday weekend and throughout the rest of the year.

Alabama's 2009 accident statistics:

-Nearly 850 people killed in 774 fatal traffic accidents.

-There was a traffic accident reported every 255 seconds.

-Someone was injured in a traffic accident every 14 minutes and 37 seconds.

-Someone was killed in a traffic accident every 10 hours and 20 minutes.

-Nearly 75 percent of Alabama car accidents happened urban areas, but 60 percent of traffic accident fatalities happened in rural areas.

-Nearly 50 percent of all fatal accidents occurred at night.

-Nearly 75 pedestrians were killed in 2009.

Road travel is expected to increase significantly during the upcoming holiday weekend, because of the rise in airfare and the drop in fuel costs. All motorists are asked to travel as safely and as cautiously as possible. We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day; please celebrate responsibly.

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Posted On: August 27, 2011

Drunk Driving Accidents in Alabama and Elsewhere an Ongoing Risk

Every year, thousands of people die because of car accidents the United States. A large number of these fatalities are the result of drunk driving accidents in Alabama and elsewhere. All of these accidents are preventable if residents exercise common sense and responsible drinking -- an important reminder through the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

In 2009, there were nearly 850 people that were killed in the state of Alabama because of traffic accidents, according to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Nearly 300 of these fatalities were the result of traffic accidents that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. These accidents represent more than 30 percent of the state's fatal accidents.

Our Alabama drunk driving accident attorneys understand that many drunk drivers don't go out with the intentions of driving home drunk. But when they find themselves without a designated driver they start to convince themselves that they're okay to drive. Consumption of alcohol has the ability to alter your reactions and to put you at risk for a serious car accident.

Impaired drivers contribute to one of the country most-often-committed and deadliest crimes:

-Seven out of every ten drivers who are involved in a fatal alcohol-related accident report having a blood alcohol concentration of at least .15.

-Nearly 15 percent of alcohol-related accident fatalities occurred to those under the age of 15.

-Drunk drivers are four times more likely to hit the road during the evening that during the daytime hours.

-Drivers age 21- to 24-years-old accounted for 35 percent of all of the drivers that were involved in drunk driving accidents.

-In 2008, roughly 25 percent, or nearly 700, young drivers ages of 16- to 19-years-old who were killed in a traffic accident had a BAC .08 or higher.

In an effort to reduce the number of fatal alcohol-related traffic accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Alabama's Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division uses state funds to organize the Alcohol-impaired Driving Countermeasure Incentive Grant Program. These funds are used to pay for increased enforcement efforts to officers who are conducting DUI enforcement efforts.

To help reduce your risks of being involved in a drunk driving car accident, considering the following safety tips:

-Before you start drinking, make sure that you've chosen a designated driver and that your driver has agreed to remain completely sober throughout the night.

-Never allow your friends or family members to drive under the influence.

-If you're impaired and left without a sober driver to get you home, you're urged to call a taxi, a friend or a family member. Try out your community's Sober Rides program, get a hotel room or stay at a friend's house.

-If you're throwing a party where alcohol will be served, make sure your guests know to make travel arrangements to help ensure that they make it home safely.

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Posted On: August 24, 2011

Children Face Serious Risks for Pedestrian and Bicycling Accidents in Alabama throughout the School Year

According to the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, child pedestrian injuries in Alabama and elsewhere throughout the country are affecting far too many of our young residents.

Pedestrian-car accidents are the second-leading cause of death for children between the ages of 4- and 15-years-old. Roughly 20 percent of children ages 5- to 9-years-old, who were killed in traffic accidents, were pedestrians that were hit by a vehicle. These statistics are very alarming, especially as the school year kicks off and more and more young students are expected to be out on our roadways walking to school or bicycling to school.

Our Birmingham pedestrian accident attorneys understand that more than 39,000 children are injured in these types of accidents every single year. Parents are urged to talk with their young students about the dangers of walking to school -- talk with them about safe pedestrian habits that can help them to stay safe each day while traveling to and from by foot or by bike.

Most school-aged children involved in pedestrian accidents are killed while walking home after school. About 40 percent of child pedestrian accidents occur from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Nearly 80 percent of these accidents happened at areas other than intersections. Mid-street crossings account for roughly 70 percent of the injuries sustained by child pedestrians under the age of 10.

The National Safety Council offers these safety tips to your little pedestrian:

-Never allow children that are 10-years-old or younger to walk to school alone.

-Make sure your child always uses a sidewalk.

-If there's no sidewalk available, make sure they walk facing traffic.

-Remind your young pedestrian to always cross the street at a street corner or at an intersection.

-Make sure your child knows to look both right and left before stepping off the curb to cross the street.

-Instruct your child to continue looking right and left as they're crossing the street.

-Tell your child to walk, never run, across a street. Running makes them more likely to trip and fall.

-Make sure your child knows to never run out in front of a parked car. Oncoming traffic may not be able to see your child.

We also understand that a number of students will be using their bicycles to get to and from school every day. Students that will be riding a bike are also urged to be cautious near our busy roadways to help to avoid an accident with a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that bicyclists that were under the age of 16 accounted for nearly 15 percent of all of the bicyclists that were killed on our roadways in 2009.

To help keep your little bicyclist safe, talk to your child about the following safety tips:

-Always wear a helmet. Children under the age of 16 in Alabama are required by law to wear a helmet when riding a bike.

-Only the width of two fingers should be able to fit between your eyebrows and the bottom of your helmet.

-Get familiar with the rules of the road and get plenty of practice in so you're more confident and comfortable on our roadways.

-Always ride on the right side of the road. Ride in a single-file line and in the same direction as traffic.

-Wait for a driver to signal the go ahead before crossing the street.

-Wear bright colors if you have to ride when the sun's not out.

-Equip your bicycle with reflective tape and lights to make yourself more visible to drivers.

Talking with your child about safe traveling habits can help to keep them safe on their journey to and from school each day. We would like to wish everyone a happy and safe school year!

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Posted On: August 18, 2011

Fatal Car Accidents in Birmingham Land City on Most Dangerous List

Recently, CNBC conducted a study to figure out which cities in the United States would rank as the top 15 most dangerous places to drive.

Fatal car accidents in Birmingham, Alabama were frequent enough to land our city on the top 15 list. The study took into consideration cities with populations of 150,000 people or more and then took the area's most recent traffic accident data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to determine which places were most likely to experience a fatal car accident.

Our Birmingham car accident attorneys understand that there are a number of factors that can contribute to fatal car accidents. Some of these factors include the number of residents, the design of roadways, the age of motorists, the weather conditions and the number of visiting motorists a place typically sees. By raising awareness about the dangers that our area faces, we can begin to make our roadways a little bit safer.

Here are the 15 most dangerous cities, according to the CNBC study, to drive in and the death rate for the city per 100,000 population:

15.) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 13.41

14.) Birmingham, Alabama: 13.55

13.) Tulsa, Oklahoma: 14.00

12.) St. Petersburg, Florida: 14.27

11.) Jacksonville, Florida: 14.36

10.) Lubbock, Texas: 14.97

9.) Memphis, Tennessee: 15.08

8.) Jackson, Mississippi: 15.53

7.) Chattanooga, Tennessee: 16.39

6.) Salt Lake City, Utah: 16.51

5.) San Bernardino, California: 17.12

4.) Little Rock, Arkansas: 17.94

3.) Augusta-Richmond Co., Georgia: 19.57

2.) Orlando, Florida: 19.95

1.) Fort Lauderdale, Florida: 22.39

Birmingham, Alabama ranked 14th on the list. The fact that we're even on that list is proof that something needs to be done in our area to help better protect our motorists from a fatal traffic accident. Residents are asked keep an eye out for deteriorating roads, changed speeds and to look out for the carelessness of other motorists on our roadways.

Each year, more than 40,000 people died because of traffic accidents in the United States. Motor-vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for U.S. residents under the age of 36. About a third of all accidents report a speeding driver as a contributor. About a half of all deadly traffic accidents in the country occur at night. In 2009, the U.S. witnessed nearly 5 million car accidents.

In 2008, 31 people were killed in Birmingham because of traffic accidents.

Of the 2009 fatal accidents in Birmingham:

-Nearly 50 vehicles were involved.

-More than 70 people were involved.

-Nearly ten of the fatal accidents involved a drunk driver.

-Seven pedestrian died because of traffic accidents.

And these statistics only include fatal accidents. Thousands more were injured on our roadways. Car accidents can be caused by any number of factors, including emergency response vehicles, farm equipment, malfunctioning road devices, defective car parts, road design, weather conditions and careless drivers. It is important for you to contact an experienced attorney if you've been involved in a motor-vehicle accident as a lawyer can help to examine every aspect of the accident to determine your rights.

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Posted On: August 15, 2011

Department of Public Safety asks Motorists to Drive Carefully to Prevent Child Injury in Alabama this School Year

August is a time when students get to strap on their new shoes and head back to school for another year. Our state troopers are reminding motorists to watch for students, whether it's near bus stops, residential neighborhoods or through school zones.

Alabama's Department of Public Safety asks that all motorists be super cautious around school buses. You're asked to stop when buses activate their lights. These yellow flashing lights are used to indicate that the bus is getting ready to pick up or drop off students. Red flashing lights and the bus' extended arm is used to alert drivers that the bus has come to a stop and that children are either getting on or off the vehicle. Motorists are required by law to stop their vehicle until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn to reduce the risks of child injury in Birmingham.

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys would like to bring up Alabama's school bus stop law. This is the law that took effect back in October of 2006 that requires all drivers to stop when a bus is stopped to pick up or drop off students on any school property, private road, roadway or highway. Drivers that are on highways with at least four traffic lanes with a median dividing the lanes that allows at least two of the lanes to travel in different directions do not have to stop for a bus that is stopped on a lane that travels in the opposite direction.

“State troopers and local officers statewide will be watchful for any traffic violations in
the areas of school zones, bus stops and stopped school buses,” said Public Safety Director Col. J. Christopher Murphy.

Murphy provides the following safety tips to motorists in Alabama to help keep our bus-riding students safe this school year:

-Be aware of your surroundings when backing out of your garage and out of your driveway.

-Watch out for children in school zones, neighborhoods or anywhere where children may be waiting for a school bus.

-Keep it slow. Watch out for children that may be walking near the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.

-Be on the lookout for children that may be playing near a bus stop. Children may run out into the street without looking for oncoming traffic.

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 25 million students ride the school bus to and from school every year. A good number of these students are injured or even killed in traffic accidents during the school year.

In 2004, there were more than 130 people killed because of traffic accidents that involved a school bus. Another 11,000 people were injured in these incidents.

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Posted On: August 5, 2011

Motorists Most Likely to Die in Alabama Car Accident in August

A recent two-car accident in Alabama took the life of a Mobile woman. The accident happened at the Dauphin Street exit ramp of Interstate 65 when the driver of a sedan was taking that exit off the Interstate and collided with a sweeper truck, according to Alabama Live.

Four of the passenger-vehicle's occupants were transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center. The driver of the truck was not injured in the accident.

Birmingham car accident attorneys would like to warn motorists about the increased risks for car accidents that they're currently facing. It has been proven time and time again that August is the deadliest month for American's on our roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has witnessed these deadly August statistics since 1994. More motorists in the United States die in traffic accidents in the month of August than during any other month out of the year.

According to the NHTSA, August has an average death rate of 1.09 per 100 million miles traveled. September follows at a close second with a death rate of 1.08 ad then July ranking in with a 1.04. March has been proven to be the safest month to travel our roadways with a death rate of 0.94 per 100 million miles traveled.

Statistics have concluded that, in 2009, an averaged 93 deaths on U.S. roadways each day in motor-vehicle accidents. That's an average of one traffic accident fatality every sixteen minutes, according to MSN Money. From 2005 to 2009, 7 of the deadliest 25 driving days have occurred in the month of August, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Russ Rader, who is a spokesman for the IIHS, says that August is a dangerous time to be on our roadways because this is the month were people are out driving more miles. Residents are out taking vacations and visiting friends and family more during this month than during any other time of the year.

More fatal accidents occur on the weekends in comparison to the weekdays. Americans use the weekends for running errands, for taking day trips and for meeting up with friends and family. Drunk driving accidents also increase during the weekends.

Daily averages for death rates on U.S. roadways:

-Mondays had 79 deaths.

-Tuesdays recorded 69 deaths.

-Wednesdays saw 78 deaths.

-Thursdays witnessed 84 deaths.

-Fridays totaled 102 deaths

-Saturdays calculated 123 deaths.

-Sundays had 107 deaths.

"A large proportion of crashes happen in late afternoon and early evening in general, but especially in August," Rader says. That's when the roads fill up both with commuters and vacationers.

Different age groups face different risks of being involved in a serious traffic accident this August. According to the IISH, there were more than 33,800 people killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2009 alone.

How do traffic accidents affect each age group?

-Those age 13- to 15-years-old accounted for 2 percent of all of the traffic fatalities.

-16 to 19: 9 percent.

-20 to 34: 31 percent.

-35 to 49: 23 percent.

-50 to 69: 22 percent.

-70 and older: 12 percent.

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