Alabama’s accident rate is among the worst in the nation.
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation there were 128,307 traffic crashes in 2012. Over 41,000 of those crashes involving injury or death. Typical drivers in Alabama have greater than a one in three chance of being involved in a traffic accident with injury or death over their lifetimes The probability of being in a crash of any severity is greater than 98 percent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 2003-2012, the death rate for an occupant of a motor vehicle in Alabama was 13.7 per 100,000 people. This is substantially higher than the national rate for the same time period of 7.0 per 100,000 people.
One reason for a higher fatality rate is the large number of rural areas in Alabama, which often do not have hospitals in close proximity. However, whether driving in a rural or urban area, there are many precautions that can be taken to lower your risk of being involved in a car accident.
Main contributing causes of all traffic accidents in Alabama:
- Misjudging stopping distance
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents.
Although we all know that speeding and driving drunk are very dangerous on the roadways, many of us are not as conscious of the risk we put ourselves at daily by being a “distracted driver”. Distracted driving is the number one cause of all crashes in Alabama, and the third leading cause of fatal crashes.
What is distracted driving and how can you avoid it?
- Changing the radio station
- Picking up something that may have fallen in the floorboard
- Using a smart phone to talk or text
There are some things you can do to help break the habit of texting and driving, including putting your cell phone in the glove compartment while driving, or putting it in the silent mode until you have reached your destination. There are also apps available on many smart phones that will send a reply text letting your friends and family know that you’re driving and will respond to texts at a later time.
Although traffic accidents are inevitable, we can all choose to make smart decisions while driving, such as being mindful of speed limits and traffic conditions, and focusing our full attention on the roadway. Choosing to put your safety and the safety of others first will help make Alabama a safer place to drive!