A recent rash of fatal Alabama car wrecks on U.S. Highway 43 in the Florence Muscle Shoals area has again raised concerns over the safety of the highway. According to a recent report, there have been three wrongful deaths in two separate car accidentswithin a week on this stretch of U.S. Highway 43. The report cited local a mayor who noted that he knew of 15 people who have been killed on that 2-mile strech of Alabama highway. According to the mayor, there is a water drainage problem on this highway and every time it rains cars and trucks begin to hydroplane. In response to these accidents, the Alabama Department of Transportation is currently surveying the road and proposing to implement the installation of guardrails, a median divider and the resurfacing of the highway.
Hydroplaning accidents are caused when a driver loses steering control because a layer of water on the roadway prevents direct contact between the tires and the road surface. When a roadway is designed or resurfaced it is required to comply with federal and state specificaitons. For example, certain portions of a highway are typically required to have a 2% slope so that if a drop of rain lands in the center of the highway the rain will run off to the shoulder. Often Alabama car accidents such as the ones on U.S. Highway 43 could be avoided if road contractors simply complied federal and state guidelines.