May 15, 2023
Auto Accident

Driving habits, safety records, and statistics can vary significantly across different states in the United States. Alabama, for example, has a reputation for having some of the most dangerous roads in the country.

A 2020 report sponsored by the Alabama Department of Transportation states that Alabama drivers have a 2 in 5 chance of being involved in a serious or fatal crash. It also found that drivers have a 90% likelihood of being in a collision of any severity during their lifetime.

Comparing the driving habits and safety records of Alabama drivers to those in other states can provide valuable insights into safe driving practices and identify areas for improvement.

Accident Rates and Fatalities

The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) detail national and state-wide accident reporting statistics. The following comparisons highlight the differences between accident rates and fatalities at the national and state levels.

  State/National  Fatal Crashes  DeathsDeaths per 100,000 Population
National35,76682411.7
Alabama85293418.6
Colorado57462210.8
Kentucky70978017.3
Louisiana76282817.8
Minnesota3693946.9
Mississippi68775225.4
South Carolina9621,06420.7

Alabama has a relatively average fatality rate for motor vehicles compared to states with similar populations. For example, Mississippi only has a population of 2,956,870, while Alabama has 5,024,803. However, Mississippi has a much higher fatality rate at 25.5 per 100,000 deaths than Alabama’s 18.6.

Colorado has a population of 5,784,308, slightly higher than Alabama. Colorado only has a fatality rate of 10.8. Minnesota, a state with 5,707,165 people, only has a fatality rate of 6.9.

DUI Statistics and Seat Belt Usage

Specific safety issues are essential for Alabama drivers to consider. These include driving under the influence and seat belt usage. The same IIHS and NHTSA sources provide insight into how Alabama compares when considering these topics:

Alcohol Use

State/NationalAlcohol-Involved Fatalities
National11,654
Alabama546
Colorado254
Kentucky417
Louisiana425
Minnesota192
Mississippi405
South Carolina547

Compared to states with similar populations, Alabama has a high alcohol fatality rate. For example, while Minnesota only saw 192 alcohol-related fatalities, Alabama had 546. South Carolina had a similar number of alcohol-crash deaths at 547.

The 2020 ALDOT report stated that 5,107 drivers were cited for a DUI that year, most of which were between 25-29. The report also found that for those who drove impaired, there was a 5.43 greater fatality rate than those who did not drive while under the influence. 

State/NationalUnrestrained Fatally Injured OccupantsPercentage of Total Fatalities
National10,99146%
Alabama38458%
Colorado19355%
Kentucky29754%
Louisiana30056%
Minnesota10241%
Mississippi22942%
South Carolina37253%

Per the IIHS, the highest unrestrained fatality rate in the nation belongs to New Hampshire at 67%. The lowest belongs to Oregon at 31%. Compared to all 50 states, Alabama ties Maine and Virginia for the 7th highest fatality rate due to non-seatbelt usage.

According to ALDOT, 3,406 people were injured in 2020 due to not using a restraint, with a total of 3.8% of people involved in crashes not using a seatbelt. In contrast, 97.5% of people involved in a collision but wearing seatbelts were not harmed.

For children specifically, ALDOT reported that 21% of children who died in Alabama crashes were not wearing restraints or were improperly restrained. 80% of children involved in crashes who had appropriate restraints were not harmed.

Road Safety Initiatives: Learning from Other States’ Best Practices

Alabama has a reputation for having dangerous roads, with a high chance of being involved in an injury or fatal crash. Despite having a relatively average fatality rate, Alabama has higher fatality rates related to driving under the influence and not wearing seatbelts.

Several factors may contribute to the high rates of driving fatalities and DUI accidents in Alabama. Reasons may include the state’s low seat belt usage rates and a lack of public transportation options.

Additionally, Alabama has a high percentage of rural roads, which are less safe than urban roads. ALDOT found that while 75% of crashes happen in urban areas, 61% of fatalities occur on rural roads. Rural road fatalities increased by 5.44% in the state from 2019 to 2020.

Alabama drivers and policymakers can learn from other state’s statistics and best practices to make the roads safer in the Yellowhammer State, including changes such as:

  • Providing more education on the importance of wearing seat belts, particularly for children
    • Enforcing laws and increasing fines for not wearing seat belts
    • Public awareness campaigns on the dangers of driving under the influence and the potential consequences
    • Increasing patrols and sobriety checkpoints to deter DUI
    • Investing in public transportation and promoting bicycle use
    • Encouraging alternative modes of transportation to reduce cars on the road and alleviate traffic congestion

Reach Out to an Auto Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in an auto collision, seek legal assistance immediately. Our experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers have helped car crash victims win millions in compensation and are ready to fight for your rights.

We are committed to providing aggressive representation to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.

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