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Alabama’s Top Intersections for Traffic Crashes

Car accidents happen every day. In Alabama, a traffic crash is reported every 4 minutes. We’ve explored the top intersections for traffic crashes in our state, click on the graphic below to view all of the information on:

  • The most dangerous intersections in Alabama
  • The most dangerous highway in Alabama
  • Intersections by county in Alabama
  • Tips on how to avoid an accident at intersection

CLICK TO VIEW THE FULL INFOGRAPHIC

Most Dangerous Intersections in Alabama

 

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Drug Possession & License Suspension Update

As of January 30, 2016 of this year, if you are charged with an offense of possession of controlled substance, possession of marijuana 1st degree, or possession of marijuana 2nd degree, you will no longer face a mandatory 6-month suspension of your driver’s license. However, a judge may still suspend your license if he or she feels that it is necessary.

Prior to the change in the law, neither a judge nor a prosecutor had the authority to waive the mandatory suspension of a driver’s license for simple drug or marijuana possession. Without a required suspension period, the judge may still suspend your license but is not forced to do so. If you were arrested prior to January 30, 2016, but were not sentenced until after that date, you may still be subject to a license suspension. However, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency must notify you of their intent to suspend your license; otherwise your driving privileges should remain active.

Additionally, certain drug offenses, such as simple possession of controlled substances, i.e. cocaine, and felony marijuana possession with a prior misdemeanor are now reclassified as Class D felonies. Class D felonies have lower minimum sentences than Class C felonies, and more commonly include sentences of probation or community corrections instead of jail, though incarceration is still possible.

If you have been charged with a simple drug offense, or if you are facing a suspension of your driver’s license, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Huntsville criminal defense attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. to go over your legal options.

M&B Shareholder Morris Lilienthal Named Alabama Super Lawyer Rising Star

Morris LilienthalMartinson & Beason, P.C. is pleased to announce Morris Lilienthal has been selected as a 2016 Alabama Super Lawyer Rising Star. The Super Lawyers rating service recognizes attorneys who have a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement, with a goal to create a credible listing of outstanding attorneys that consumers can use in finding legal counsel.

Each year, the top 2.5% of Alabama attorneys under forty (or those who have practiced less than 10 years) are recognized for their high achievement in legal ability, professional standards, and peer recognition. Candidates are selected through a rigorous process that combines extensive peer review and independent research conducted by the Super Lawyers organization.

“Serving those who’ve been wrongly injured has been my life’s calling. I am honored to have received this recognition for providing outstanding services to my clients.” Lilienthal said. “We have a tremendous team of dedicated paralegals and support staff who are committed to achieving the best possible results for our clients.” [Read more…]

Rate of Fatal Car Accidents on the Rise

Highway warning signIf you suspected serious car crashes have recently increased, you would be correct. In fact, 2015 saw the largest national traffic fatality percentage increase in fifty years at 7.2%, according to a report from al.com. Alabama also saw an increase in fatal accidents in 2015, though at a slightly slower rate than the national average.

Of Alabama’s 4.86 million people, there were 17.41 fatalities per 100,000 people, and alcohol-related fatalities numbered 4.98 per 100,000 people. Alabama’s statewide average was well above the national average of 10.92 fatalities per 100,000 people.

AxleGeeks (a website division of Graphiq) compiled a list of ‘The Car Accident Capitals of America.’ Perhaps not surprisingly, Alabama was well represented, with Birmingham and Montgomery both taking high spots. We should point out, however, that only cities with a population over 100,000 were considered. [Read more…]

How Your Credit Score Impacts Auto Insurance Premiums

Car Accident in AlabamaYou probably knew a bad credit score could impact your chances of securing a reasonable interest rate when buying a house or car, but did you know a low credit score could also impact how much you pay in car insurance? That’s the finding of a new study by InsuranceQuotes.com, as reported by al.com. Although your credit score is only one of several factors used in the calculation of your auto insurance premiums, it can have a large impact on how much you pay. In fact, your credit can have a larger impact on auto insurance premiums than any other factor, according to Consumer Reports.

In Alabama, drivers with poor credit pay an especially high penalty. Drivers with poor credit can expect to pay 190% more than drivers with good credit. That rate ranks Alabama sixth in the nation for the largest penalty for poor credit. Alabamians with fair credit can expect to pay 56% more drivers with good credit, the highest percent increase in the country. For comparison, Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan also had high penalties for average or poor credit. In contrast, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, forbids insurance companies from factoring credit into auto insurance premiums. In those states, car insurance quotes focus on driving record as opposed to future risk. [Read more…]

Stay Safe Around Big Rigs: Know the Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents

eighteen wheeler truck in Alabama18-Wheelers (semi-trucks) are a crucial part of getting goods to stores, but they pose significant risks to other motorists. Virtually everyone has experienced the stress of driving alongside a big truck, which can be especially intimidating at high speeds or in traffic congestion. Not surprisingly, most fatalities in accidents involving an 18-wheeler are the occupants of passenger vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In 2014, in accidents involving a passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler, 97% of deaths were occupants of the passenger vehicle.

Because of their massive size (18-wheelers can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can stretch up to 80 feet), wrecks with semi-trucks are often severe. 18-wheelers need about 40% more time to stop, according to Truckers Report. Compounding the problem, semi-trucks also have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. Often, it is a combination of factors that cause an 18-wheeler accident.

Because safety starts with knowing the cause of the problem, we’ve compiled this list of reasons why 18-wheeler accidents most often occur:

  1. Driver Fatigue

Truck Drivers are often under enormous pressure to meet delivery deadlines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits truck drivers to driving a maximum of 11 hours a day or 70 hours a week. However, there has been a recent push in Congress to raise the limit to 82 hours a week. Regardless, fatigue often sets in well before the legal limits and poses significant danger for everyone. Even though shorter work weeks could prove more expensive for trucking companies in the short run, insurance deductions, and fewer accidents should provide long-term financial benefits. [Read more…]

Alabama Employer’s Ban on Dreadlocks Okayed by Appellate Court

Dreadlocks banned in AlabamaThe 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the federal appellate court for Alabama cases, recently ruled that a Mobile company’s ban on dreadlocks for their employees does not violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of an African American woman who wore her hair in dreadlocks. The woman’s job offer was terminated after she refused to change her hairstyle.

Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan, who authored the unanimous opinion, acknowledged such determinations are often difficult: “We recognize that the distinction between immutable and mutable characteristics of race can sometimes be a fine (and difficult) one, but it is a line that courts have drawn.” The full opinion of the case, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Catastrophe Management Solutions, is available here.

[Read more…]

Clowns Are Creepy. Can They Also Be Criminal?

Scary ClownMany folks have questions about the differences between certain misdemeanors that seem to cover the same behavior: “Menacing”, “Reckless Endangerment”, “Harassment” and “Disorderly Conduct”. They all seem to protect against the same sort of intimidating and threatening behavior, so how are they different?

Recently, there have been plenty of reports of clowns scaring people all over the country. These terrifying carnival folk are carrying weapons, following and chasing people, and even trying to lure children into local wooded areas. In a strange way, these clown sightings help explain the differences in the misdemeanors I discussed above. Let’s run through some “creepy clown” hypotheticals together to give you a better understanding… and get in the Halloween spirit!

Menacing – 13A-6-23

“A person commits the crime of menacing if, by physical action, he intentionally places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.”

The criminal act must be intentional and it must place the victim in fear of imminent serious physical injury. Typically, serious physical injury means death or grave bodily harm close to death. Thus, often times, menacing is charged when a weapon is used to intimidate or scare someone.

[Read more…]

Alabama Among States Suing to Block New Rule on Overtime Pay

Overtime Pay Money - Huntsville, ALA coalition of twenty-one states and several businesses and industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are suing to block the new overtime-pay requirements set to take effect in December. They argue that the new policy is unconstitutional, unduly burdens the states, and violates the Tenth Amendment, which reserves powers to the states. The lawsuit was filed in a Texas District Court and is available here.

The rule is designed to boost lower and middle-class wages by raising the salary threshold for overtime pay, and is considered a significant policy milestone for the Obama Administration. By the Department of Labor’s estimates, over four-million people will be impacted by the new rule, including 60,000 workers in Alabama. The rule applies to all employees, including managers, executives, and other professionals, unless they fall under an exempt occupational category.

[Read more…]

Beat a Potential Fed Rate Hike by Refinancing/Buying a House Now

Huntsville, AL HouseLast week, the Federal Reserve voted to hold key interest rate at current levels. Nevertheless, three board members voted for a rate hike, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the “case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months.” The decision came as a surprise to some economic observers who were expecting a small hike in interest rates. The Federal Reserve’s decision is good news for homebuyers and those looking to refinance at a low rate. If you are a potential buyer on the fence about purchasing a new home, your window of opportunity to lock in a great rate may be starting to close.

The federal funds rate is the interest rate by which banks lend money to each other, which the Federal Reserve uses to impact the amount of money in circulation. In turn, this rate effects how expensive it is for consumers to borrow money to buy houses, cars, and other large purchases. Even a small quarter-point rate hike can lead to a sizable difference in interest paid by the borrower over the term of a thirty-year mortgage.

[Read more…]

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