Interstate 10 is a cross-country Interstate which stretches from the Pacific Ocean near Santa Monica, CA to I-95 in Jacksonville, Florida. Interstate 10 is a part of the originally planned Interstate network laid out in 1956. The last section of I-10 was completed in 1990, making it the fourth-longest Interstate in the U.S., with about a third of its entire length in the state of Texas. Interstate 10 is the primary east-west highway in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama, connecting Mobile, Alabama to Pascagoula, MS on the west and Pensacola, FL on the east.
Within the state of Alabama, I-10 connects the communities of Fairhope and Daphne, and Mobile and Baldwin counties. As I-10 curves north towards downtown Mobile, AL, it crosses over the Canadian National Railway and the Illinois Central Railroad rail lines. After this, I-10 goes through the George Wallace Tunnel, under the Mobile River, in downtown Mobile. Because of a sharp downward curve approaching the tunnel, the speed limit on I-10 in this area slows to 40 mph.
After leaving the city of Mobile, I-10 crosses Polecat Bay and enters Baldwin County, continuing east on the Northern edge of Daphne, then crossing the Fish Rivers. A new highway, the Baldwin Beach Express, connects Interstate 10 with Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Finally, I-10 crosses the Styx River then exits the state of Alabama and enters the state of Florida.
Auto Accidents in Mobile and Baldwin Counties
Interstate I-10 stretches all the way across Southern Alabama, primarily traveling through Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Alabama ranks high for auto accident fatalities—7th in the nation—with 19 auto accidents per 100,000 residents (fatal and non-fatal). The overall rate of auto accidents across the United States is 11.5 percent per 100,000 residents. In Mobile County, there were 13,495 auto accidents in 2013, and 13,862 in 2014. From those accidents, there were 66 fatalities in 2013, and 76 fatalities in 2014, with 3,453 injuries in 2013, and 3,747 injuries in 2014. In Baldwin County, there were 4,428 auto accidents in 2013, with 38 fatalities and 1,276 injuries. In 2014 in Baldwin County there were 4,564 auto accidents, with 28 fatalities and 1,355 injuries.
Truck Accidents on Alabama Interstates
Because Interstate 10 is a well-traveled route for large commercial truck transport, it stands to reason there would be an increase in truck accidents on I-10 as well. In 2014, there were 7,782 truck accidents across the state of Alabama; 2,100 or 27 percent of those occurred on Interstates in the state. From those accidents, 89 fatalities and 2,184 injuries resulted. The number one cause of truck accidents on Interstates was the improper use of lane changes.
When a truck driver changes lanes suddenly, he or she may not see smaller passenger vehicles in his or her path, whether due to blind spots, or distracted or reckless driving behaviors. The second most common reason for truck accidents on Alabama Interstates is the failure to yield the right-of-way, followed by unseen object, person or vehicle, tailgating, misjudged stopping distance and defective equipment.
Rules of Conduct Following an Auto or Truck Accident on the Interstate
An auto accident on an Interstate has the potential to be much more dangerous than an accident on a less-busy roadway. When vehicles are flying by at 70 mph and more, an accident which might involve two vehicles can quickly turn into an accident involving multiple vehicle and multiple injuries. The basic rules of conduct following an accident include:
- Never leave the scene of an accident. You could find yourself being criminally prosecuted if your car has been involved in an accident and you leave before the police arrive. However, while you should normally avoid moving your car following an accident, on a busy Interstate you must assess the risks associated with moving the vehicle as opposed to leaving it where it is. Further, it may not even be possible to move the vehicle if the damage is severe. If you determine you can safely move your vehicle a short distance to create additional safety for yourself and others, then do so while waiting for the police.
- If the Other Driver is Reluctant to Contact Police
If you are a victim of negligent Interstate driving which resulted in an accident, and the other party says, “Oh, let’s just handle this ourselves without calling the police,” do not be persuaded! Even if you have properly exchanged information, you may end up very sorry should you not call the police because there will be no accident report detailing the accident and who was at fault. With no police report your insurance mail refuse to pay. You could later find the other driver was uninsured or gave you false information, leaving you with injuries and damages, and holding the proverbial bag.
- Don’t Refuse Medical Attention
It happens time after time at accident scenes. People who are involved in a crash routinely refuse medical attention even when they are feeling at least some level of pain. They go home, then hours later find that their pain has increased significantly, and they end up in the emergency room. The problem with this scenario is, that if and when your case reaches court, your delay in seeking treatment can be used against you to prove your injury was not a result of the auto accident.
- Never Admit Fault
It is virtually never in your best interest to admit responsibility for the accident until you have consulted an attorney. Your statements following an accident can come back to haunt you, and in any case, the police may determine the other driver was equally at fault, so exercise your right to remain silent if you are thinking of admitting guilt.
Getting the Help You Need from an Alabama Personal Injury Attorney
Even the simplest car accidents can require many steps. Dealing with your injuries, the insurance companies, medical issues and possible lost wages can be very complex. Failure to notify your insurance company could lead to a denial of your claim down the line, so hiring an experienced Martinson & Beason lawyer can allow you to focus on getting better rather than dealing with insurance issues. Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of auto accidents as well as the resulting injuries and medical issues. If you feel your life is spinning out of control and you want to have the time to deal with your injuries while an experienced attorney deals with the legal issues, call Martinson & Beason today.