Interstate 459 in Alabama is a relatively short stretch of Interstate (32.8 miles), which is considered an alternate Interstate around the southern sides of Birmingham, Bessemer and other cities in Jefferson County (I-459 lies entirely within the boundaries of Jefferson County). Construction on I-459 began in 1968, and was completed in 1984. I-459 forms a “beltway” around the south side of Birmingham, and has major interchanges with Interstates 59, 20 and 65, and is considered a bypass for I-20/59 for traffic heading west to Dallas or New Orleans or East to Atlanta.
After I-459 passes Morgan Road, it enters an extremely populated area around Hoover. Exiting Hoover, I-459 intersects with US 280, which is an 8-10 lane arterial, considered one of the most congested roads in Birmingham. The Alabama Department of Transportation has been in negotiation with the city of Hoover regarding adding an additional interchange between I-459 and South Shades Crest Road, due to the heavy traffic in this area, however no agreement has yet been reached.
Although a relatively short Interstate in the state of Alabama, I-459 is nonetheless a heavily-traveled interstate. The busier the Interstate, the more likely auto accidents will occur. Interstates move traffic quickly, but include such hazards as frequent road construction and merging traffic. Interstate accidents are much more likely to involve multiple vehicles, making an auto accident claim for an Interstate accident more complex than one on a less-busy roadway.
Auto Accident Statistics in Jefferson County and the City of Birmingham
Jefferson County had 19,967 auto accidents in 2013, and 25,024 in 2014. As a result of those accidents, 82 people died in 2013, with 4,364 injuries, and 76 people died in 2014 with 5,573 injuries. as well as the state of Alabama rank higher than the national average for automobile accidents. In the city of Birmingham, there were 8,189 auto accidents in 2013 with 30 fatalities and 1,743 injuries, while in 2014, Birmingham’s car accident rates had a sharp increase at 13,033 auto accidents, 31 fatalities and 2,931 injuries.
The state of Alabama has a rate of 19 auto accidents per 100,000 residents as compared to a rate of 11.5 percent in the United States. Jefferson County has a rate of 12.9 auto accidents per 100,000 residents, which is lower than that of the state, but higher than that of the nation. The state of Alabama has the seventh-highest fatality rate for auto accidents than other states. This rather frightening statistic is due more to the large number of people who live in rural Alabama in areas without nearby hospitals than to any other reason.
Who Dies Most Often in Car Accidents?
Fatal car accidents claim the lives of literally thousands of people each year in America. In fact, fatal car accidents are the primary cause of death for those between the age of five and twenty-seven. The financial toll of these accidents is equally staggering.
While vehicle occupants are the most likely group to be killed in an auto accident, motorcyclists comprise over one-twelfth of the total number of auto accident fatalities. The deadliest form of automobile crash is a front impact crash, while side impacts rank second in the number of fatalities.
Causes of Fatal Auto Accidents
- The primary cause of fatal car crashes is split nearly evenly between drivers who drive under the influence and distracted drivers. Although alcohol contributed to about forty percent of auto fatalities just a few short years ago, today distracted driving behaviors as a cause of auto accidents are fast overtaking impaired drivers as a cause of auto accidents. Alcohol consumption can reduce driver reflexes and suppress the ability to make good judgement calls but driving, eating, texting, talking on the phone and fiddling with the radio or GPS also slows reaction time, leading to hundreds of thousands of accidents.
- Driver behavior, or negligence behind the wheel is another top cause of fatal auto accidents. Driver inexperience can definitely contribute to accidents, and teenagers are neither experienced, nor well-known for their careful driving behaviors. This makes teenage drivers the most likely group to be involved in an auto accident.
- Driver fatigue is a contributing factor in automobile fatalities, causing numerous fatalities per year, especially among truck drivers. The NHTSA conservatively estimates that 100,000 auto collisions each year are the result of driver fatigue, resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
- Vehicle condition is a factor in many fatal automobile accidents, and can include sticky brake or gas pedals, brake defects, tire tread separation or even gas leaks. There may also be defects in the vehicle design or manufacturing defects which renders the vehicle dangerous and can be a significant factor in fatal accidents. Seat belts, seat backs, ignition systems, airbags, tires and even door latches can all have defects which can potentially lead to a death. Additionally, tire blowouts can lead to a loss of control of the vehicle, causing crashes and rollovers.
- Road conditions and weather conditions are also known factors in fatal car crashes. Our American roads are subject to millions of pounds of vehicles passing over them each day, leading to erosion and degradation. Some roads may have basic design flaws which also increase the dangerous nature of the road. Adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow and fog can also make the roadways a major contributor to fatal crashes. Visibility is significantly compromised when the weather is less than ideal, and rain can create a slick and dangerous surface, causing vehicles to spin or skid while over-braking.
Getting the Help You Need After Your Automobile Collision
If you have been injured in an auto accident, filing a claim on your own can be a very complex process. If you want the time to heal from your injuries, contacting a Martinson & Beason attorney can help you do just that. We will handle every aspect of your accident, including dealing with insurance companies and filing a claim on your behalf. Our Alabama car accident attorneys have extensive experience in auto accidents and the resulting injuries. We have compassion for your situation and will work hard on your behalf to ensure you receive an equitable settlement from the at-fault party. If you need answers and solid legal representation following your auto accident, call Martinson & Beason today.